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TS 2235.U5H4 
Tobacco and Americans. 

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McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc 



Copyright © 1960 by Robert K. Heimann. 
Printed in the United States of America. All rights re- 
served. This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in 
any form without written permission of the publishers. 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 60-8114 

First Edition 


Any book which aims to be definitive owes much to writers and 
record-keepers of past generations, many of them unknown. How- 
ever, the author wishes to name and thank these contemporary 
authorities for their valued aid and encouragement: 
Charles E. Gage, pioneer in the field of U.S. Government tobacco 
statistics, who gave the manuscript a painstaking scrutiny and made 
many constructive suggestions. 

Jerome E. Brooks, renowned tobacco scholar and annotator of the 
Arents Collection, who read the text critically from the standpoint 
of his specialty. 

Sarah A. Dickson, Curator of the Arents Collection of the New 
York Public Library, and Bella Landauer of the New York Histori- 
cal Society, who opened their rich files of pictorial material for use 
in this book. 



What shapes the pattern of a society's growth? 

This is a perennial question among social scien- 
tists and historians. Those who favor the Great Man 
Theory of history answer it in terms of political 
leaders. Others offer the economic formula, supply 
and demand. Anthropologists point to the "cake of 
custom"— the day-to-day mores and living habits 
of people in groups— as the basic heritage from 
which all civilization is compounded. Climate, war, 
geography, the diffusion of inventions and ideas 
from culture to culture are other explanations ad- 
vanced from time to time as the emphasis of the 
social studies shifts. 

After pursuing each of these theories in its turn, 
the student concludes that a nation's growth can 
hardly be explained in terms of any single factor. 
Custom cannot be explained apart from climate; 
supply and demand, war, great men and geography 
are all part of a mixture that makes men what they 
are, and at the same time provides the impetus 
for them to change. 

These many influences show up clearly in a socio- 

economic cross-section, such as this account of 
Americans and tobacco. In some ways, a close look 
at a single facet of society can be more revealing 
than an attempt to encompass all facets at once. 

The evolution of the tobacco business, linked 
closely with the growth of America itself, has been 
affected by all the factors with which the various 
schools of history deal. Climate regulated the 
growth of tobacco in the first place. The American 
Indian made it part of his "cake of custom." The 
various forms of taking tobacco were diffused, like 
inventions, to the Old World and back to the New 
by the mariners of Portugal, Spain, Holland and 
Great Britain. Its usefulness as a creature com- 
fort has been dramatized in a series of wars. The 
demand for it in Europe was the economic base on 
which the Virginia and Maryland colonies were 
established. Sir Walter Raleigh, who planted the 
first English-speaking colony in this country, is 
thought of as the first English promoter of the 
"bewitching vegetable." Tobacco was the reason 
for Maryland's settlement by George Calvert and 


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his sons. A famous Colonial general, Israel Putnam, 
introduced the Cuban cigar to New England and 
another general, Ulysses S. Grant, became its living 
testimonial. And great men like Washington and 
Jefferson— both warriors and heads of state— played 
as prominent a role in tobacco as they did in state- 
craft itself. The story of Americans and tobacco 
contains grist for the mill of the sociologist as well 
as the economist and for that of the historian as 
well as the agriculturalist. 

A casual look at the tobacco industry, which 
spends $150 million a year to advertise, might sug- 
gest that smoking — like foam rubber sofas and V-8 
engines — owes its vogue to promotion. During the 
last century virtually every significant change in 
smoking habits has been heralded in a massive way 
by brand advertising. 

But a closer examination shows that tobacco it- 
self (as distinct from competing brands) requires 
less promotion than almost any other commodity 
except, perhaps, for food. Unlike the glittering 
new conveniences of the Machine Age, tobacco is 

a traditional pleasure. Through the centuries, ordi- 
nary men have prized the pleasure of smoking with 
no prompting whatsoever. The Spanish sailors in 
Columbus' little fleet adopted tobacco from the 
West Indians before their commanders understood 
the reason for its cultivation. London dandies 
sought it in the seventeenth century when it was 
worth its weight in silver, and their descendants 
cheerfully pay the British equivalent of 50c for 
twenty twentieth-century cigarettes. Americans 
drew their first livelihood from tobacco, used it as 
currency, grew it in their gardens for home use, 
chewed it on the open plains, puffed it in cabin or 
in camp, and carried it for barter. The doughboys 
of War I, the G. I. Joes of War II, and the drafted 
citizen-soldiers of the Korean War smoked under 
any and all circumstances. 

Tobacco originated in America; it was this 
nation's first business; Americans brought it to 
its present stage of development. The story of 
tobacco is somewhat more than a business history. 
It is, in many ways, the story of America itself. 

Searching for mineral wealth, the first explorers 
of the New World ignored the aromatic vegetable 
smoked and chewed by the N orth American natives. 
Europeans saw tobacco as savage incense or salve. 


The written history of Americans and of tobacco 
begins on October 12, 1492, when Christopher 
Columbus reached the beaches of San Salvador in 
the West Indies. According to the Admiral's journal, 
published some years afterward, the natives 
brought fruit, wooden spears, and "certain dried 
leaves" which gave off a distinct fragrance. The 
Spanish sailors in Columbus' command welcomed 
the fruit; the dried leaves they threw away. 

Three days later, while cruising among the 
islands, the Admiral found a solitary Indian in a 
canoe. In addition to bread and water, he carried 
the same kind of dried leaves and made a great 
show of offering them to the white strangers in the 
white-winged vessels. No doubt the Spaniards won- 
dered why the strange leaves were so highly valued. 

The following month they found out why. Two 
sailors, Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis de Torres, were 
dispatched on a three days' reconnaissance across 

Cuba, bearing letters of introduction to the Khan 
of Cathay. The Indians, they reported, wrapped 
the dried leaves in palm or maize "in the manner 
of a musket formed of paper," and after lighting 
one end inhaled the smoke through the other. To 
keep them glowing the Indians blew on the lighted 
ends between puffs, a gesture still common to cigar 
connoisseurs the world aroimd. One of the two 
scouts, de Jerez, became a confirmed tobacco 
smoker, probably the first European to do so. 

Smoke-filled hemisphere 

As later voyagers were to discover, the New 
World was full of confirmed smokers, and had been 
for hundreds of years. What is more, every form of 
tobacco consumption— pipe, cigar, cigarette, snuff, 
chew— had become accepted custom long before 
the first Spaniards landed. The Caribs of the West 
Indies inhaled or snuffed a mixture that may have 

included tobacco through a hollow Y-shaped tube 
called a taboca or tobago. This word was applied 
as "tabaco" to the leaf itself by the Spanish, and was 
later used to describe the mousqueton or roll fan- 
cied by the Cuban natives. To this day, a cigar in 
Cuba is "un tabaco." Cortez found Mexican Indians 
devoted to tobacco; in the well-developed civili- 
zation of the Aztecs, he observed an established 
use of flavored reed cigarettes. Countless tribes in 
what are now the United States and Canada smoked 
their tobacco in straight pipes — war pipes, peace 
pipes, and simple pleasure pipes— called "calumets" 
by the French explorers. The Quiche Mayans, like 
their Cuban contemporaries, were fond of cigars 
and may have originated the "smoke-filled room" of 
politics, since their councils were illuminated by 
fat-pine torches and accompanied by fat cigars. 
According to some etymologists their word for 
tobacco was "ziq" and their word for smoking 

"zikar" — which may have prompted the Spanish 
word "cigarro." Even the use of plug tobacco was 
observed at the end of the sixteenth century — in 
Santo Domingo, by the famous Samuel de Cham- 
plain who was later to found Quebec. 

In almost every region of the New World, the 
natives had a word for tobacco. In Brazil, it was 
petum; in Aztec Mexico, picietl; in Virginia, uppo- 
woc; along the St. Lawrence, quiecta; in Peru, sayri; 
in Colombia, yuri; in Trinidad, vreit. What was the 
basic attraction that led the original American 
tribes to cultivate and cherish, each in its own way, 
the unique plant known to the English as the 
"Soverane Herb"? Oddly enough, the question can- 
not be answered in precise scientific terms even 

Still, the widespread popularity of tobacco in 
pre-Columbian years is strikingly evident from its 
prominence in the reports of the first white explor- 

Americans of the fifteenth century used tobacco 
in all forms known today. The taboca or Y-shaped 
snuffing-stick of Haiti may have named "tobacco." 

AmerigoV espuccisawV enezuelanswithagreenherb 
—"which they chewed like cattle to such an extent 
that they could scarcely talk . . . to allay thirst." 

ers. Each thought he was chronicling something 
unique. In a sense this was true, for each saw the 
use of tobacco through his own haze of prejudice 
and preconception. Some saw it as religious ritual, 
some as medicine, some as a thirst-quencher, some 
as a vile heathen intoxicant, some as a primitive 
balm. Nevertheless it is illuminating to "discover" 
tobacco again through the eyes of the first white 
men to see it in the hemisphere of its origin. 

Venezuela quid 

Amerigo Vespucci reached Margarita Island off 
the coast of Venezuela in 1499, and there saw the 
natives chewing a "green herb which they chewed 
like cattle to such an extent that they could scarcely 
talk." The reason for this excessive use of "chaw" 
may well have been the lack of water on Margarita, 
whose sole supply of fresh water is its rainfall. As 
every chewer of tobacco knows, plug or twist in- 
duces salivation, so it is not surprising that each 
of Vespucci's Indians carried his supply of "green 
herb" in a gourd around his neck — the original 
tobacco pouch. 

A similar observation was made in a life of 
Columbus which appeared in 1571, supposedly 
written by his son Ferdinand. In exploring Veragua 
( Costa Rica ) , the Admiral's brother met a cacique 
or chieftain and a score of men "putting a dry herb 
in their mouths and chewing it, and sometimes they 
put a certain powder that they carried together 
with that herb." 

In their westward search for the East Indies, the 
Spaniards were everywhere greeted with tobacco. 
Cortez landed in Tabasco in 1519 and was immedi- 
ately offered the leaf as a gesture of good will by 
the natives. He was, however, no more interested 
in tobacco than in peace. Not long after Cortez and 
company plundered the Aztec capitol at Mexico 
City, Fernando de Alarcon pushed farther west, 
reaching the mouth of the Colorado River on the 
Gulf of California in 1540. The Indians there, he 
reported, "carry their pipes with which to perfume 
themselves like the Tavagi people (Tobago in- 
habitants ) of New Spain." 

CabraVs cure-all 

With the credulous enthusiasm characteristic of 
explorer nations, the Spanish, Portuguese and Brit- 
ish pounced on tobacco as a miraculous panacea. 


In Brazil, Central America and the West Indies— custom. These squatting and recumbent smokers are 
the tropical belt-cigar smoking was a prominent Aztecs, who seem very earnestabout their puffing. 

Dozens of scholars listed it as a cure for almost 
every known disease (later, skeptics listed it as a 
cause of almost every known disease ) . But neither 
the fanciful notions of the early herbalists nor the 
vigorous objections they prompted were greatly to 
influence the spread of the "witching weed" as an 
item of commerce. 

In 1500, only eight years after Columbus' land- 
fall, Pedro Alvarez Cabral and his Portuguese fleet 
veered off course and accidentally discovered Bra- 
zil. His description of tobacco did not see print until 
the Lisbon historian Damiao de Goes published a 
1571 work on the people of Sancta Cruz, of Brazil: 
They have many odoriferous and medicinal herbs 
different from ours; among them is one we call 
fumo (smoke, i.e., tobacco) which some call 
Betum and I will call the holy herb, because of 
its powerful virtue in wonderful ways, of which 
I have had experience, principally in desperate 
cases: for ulcerated abscesses, fistulas, sores, in- 
veterate polyps and many other ailments. 

The Portuguese were then at their peak as a great 
seafaring people, which is reflected by the fact that 
one of the most popular designations of tobacco in 
16th-century Europe was their term, "herba 
sancta." This name is made even more logical by 
the nature of the tobacco rites among the Tupi- 
nambas of Brazil, as observed by Cabral: 

They carry a calabash made like the head of a 

man, with mouth, nostrils, eyes and hair, placed 

on the top of an arrow, within which they make 

smoke with dried leaves of the plant betum, and 

the smoke which is in the head they inhale to 

such an extent that they are drunk. 

The "they" refers to the shamans or sorcerers : their 

prophecies uttered during the tobacco ritual were 

believed to be inspired by the gods. 

Open eyes, closed minds 

The reactions of the first discubridores and con- 
quistadores like Columbus, Vespucci, Cabral, Cor- 
tez and Alarcon present an odd paradox. In spite 

of the fact that they were innovators in a geograph- 
ical sense, their values were those of a set social 
system. They would endure excruciating torture to 
seek out stores of existing wealth, but they lacked 
any notions of developing demand, of mass market- 
ing, of capitalistic enterprise. So rigid was their 
concept of wealth that they were unable to see, for 
a time, the new wealth they had sailed so far to 

The economic values of those early Spaniards 
and Portuguese were no more rigid than their social 
and religious beliefs. Automatically, as a matter of 
course, their physical conquests were accompanied 
by attempts to conquer the heathen spiritually, by 
force if need be. This contempt for savage beliefs 
blinded them to the nature of tobacco usage. Be- 
cause the leaf was associated with heathen worship, 
they saw, or fancied, only the religious or medico- 
religious significance of the leaf. So they described 
it as a curiosity, or at most as a curative. Their eyes 
were open, but their minds were not: they were 
incapable of understanding any religious or eco- 
nomic values that were not their own. 

To the native Americans, on the other hand, 
wealth was not something to be hoarded but some- 
thing to be used. Their gold took the form of plates, 
utensils, ornaments — not money. The Aztecs, for 
example, used the cacao bean as a medium of ex- 
change, an item of everyday use which was too 
perishable to hoard. The economy of Mexican 
tribes and those to the north were fluid, dynamic, 
oriented to consumption. Where the Spanish suf- 
fered and thirsted and died in the deserts for their 
gold standard, the original Americans existed by 
and large for their standard of living. 

So with the appeal of tobacco staring them in 
the face, the military captains and learned scholars 
missed its social and economic significance com- 
pletely. Only after they actually lived among the 
savages did they realize that the leaf was an every- 
day custom as well as a pagan incense. 

One of the most revealing, and amusing, state- 
ments by a "conscientious objector" to tobacco is 
that of Manoel de Nobrega, who journeyed to Bra- 
zil in 1549 for the purpose of converting the 
heathen Indians: 

No one of our brothers uses it, nor does any other 
of the Christians, in order not to imitate the 
unbelievers who like it very much. I need it 
because of the dampness and my catarrh, but I 

In Mexico, eastern U.S. and Canada, farming tribes 
cultivated Nicotiana rustica — a small-leaved type 
so bitter it was generally smoked through a pipe. 

abstain — not what is useful for myself but what 
is good for many that they may be saved. 

Nobrega clearly expresses the germ of the opposi- 
tion tobacco was to meet through the centuries. 

Creature comfort 

Nobrega's solemn attitude "was not shared by 
Gabriel de Sousa, who followed him to Bahio. "Cer- 
tain of the chiefs, who are in council," he wrote, 
"take rolls of tobacco which they drink ... all take 
it in turn." This referred neither to medical practise 
nor to religious ritual, but rather to communal cus- 
tom like the "smoke-filled room" of the Mayans 
and the pipe-passing traditions of the Indians of 
the United States. De Sousa also noted that the 
most important aspect of all — the use of tobacco 
as a creature comfort — was, even in 1567, quite 
common among the whites and halfbreeds, who 
walked about with rolls of tobacco in their mouths, 
puffing constantly. 

Across the Andes, Miguel Balboa made similar 


Wild tobaccos of several species grew west of the 
cordillera, mainly in temperate zones. It too was 
harsh and small-leaved— yet the natives smoked it. 

Tall, broad-leaved tobacco— Nicotiana tabacum,the 
commercial species— originated in Brazil or Central 
America. It was mild enough to smoke in cigar form. 

observations among the Incas of Peru late in the 
sixteenth century. Not only tobacco but also coca 
was involved in the rites of the priests. In their long 
second-hand descriptions of tobacco, several Euro- 
pean "herbalists" described the milder variety of 
tobacco as "henbane of Peru" and other explorers 
wrote of its magical effects — as, for instance, in 
curing wounds made by poisoned arrows (!) It is 
clear enough that Nicotiana tabacum. soon to be a 
prime luxury throughout the world, was extensively 
grown and used across the upper half of South 
America and in Central America. At the same time 
the use of "yellow henbane," as the coarse Nicotiana 
rustica was first called, had long been cultivated by 
most of the tribes between Mexico City and the St. 
Lawrence, from the Mississippi-Missouri basin east 
to the Atlantic. 

The origin of "tall tobacco," the commercial 
species, was in northern South America and Central 
America — in general, the tropical and subtropical 
belt of the hemisphere. This fits in not only with 

botanical evidence, but also with the immediate 
appeal the species held for Portuguese sailors who 
carried it from Brazil. Since the first Spanish mis- 
sionaries observed "two kinds" of tobacco in Mex- 
ico, it is apparent that the mild species was widely 
grown in at least the southern half of that country. 
The prominence of cigar smoking in the Mayan 
culture — whose relics include the oldest known 
records of tobacco use— suggests that the luxuriant 
jungles of Chiapas (Mexico's southernmost prov- 
ince) and adjacent Guatemala may have cradled 
the first Nicotiana tabacum. Human "relics"— prim- 
itive Lacandon tribes who may be descendants of 
the Maya — were found by American explorers in 
1951 growing the plant in patches of cleared jungle, 
along with corn and beans. Like the ancients of 
their region, they chain-smoke cigars of their own 
making. It may be only a coincidence that these 
shy, savage people, virtually buried alive in matted 
greenery, pursue their tobacco custom within a 
hundred miles of Palenque, where the first sculp- 


In Brazil, Andre Thevet in 1555 noted that petun 
(tobacco) was believed to be "wonderfully useful 
for several things." One use was medicinal: here 

a sick man is being "fumigated" with smoke from a 
large cigar. Another shakes a tammaraka or rattle 
—now a musical rather than a medical instrument. 

tured picturization of a smoker was found. 

The native tobacco of the temperate zone east of 
the Rockies (northern Mexico through Southern 
Canada ) was Nicotiana rustica. It was not, strictly 
speaking, a wild plant but required cultivation. 
Small-leaved, it was at first confused with yellow 
henbane (while the tall, broad-leaved plant was 
dubbed "henbane of Peru" ) . Because of its strength 
and bitterness, it was generally smoked in a pipe, 
often blended with milder leaves of various plants. 
There is no question about its use on the mainland 
from the latitude of Mexico City to that of the St. 
Lawrence. Because Yucatan tobacco was brought 
to Cuba and Haiti around 1534 by the Spanish, it 
is thought that the bitter, biting rustica was exclu- 

sively cultivated in those islands before the white 
discoverers arrived. On the other hand, the West 
Indies were closer to Central America, Venezuela 
and Brazil than to mainland North America — in 
climate, race, and cultural contact via Arawaks and 
Caribs, as well as geographically. Perhaps both 
kinds of tobacco were grown by the pre-Columbian 

So far as is known, the truly wild tobaccos — 
Nicotiana petunoides according to one classifier — 
flourish only in the temperate zones of both North 
and South America west of the continental divide. 
Diaries of the explorers and fur traders who pierced 
the American Northwest refer to a strange type of 
tobacco smoked by Indian tribes. The presumption 


Thevet also noted the use of tobacco for pleasure, "have become very attached to this plant." Thevet 
as shown in this woodcut from his book, published introduced tobacco in France, although Jean Nicot, 
in 1557. "The Christians there today," he wrote, for whom Nicotiana is named, was given the credit. 

is that this native leaf was wild petunoides rather 
than cultivated rustica; but it was so quickly sup- 
planted for Indian use by Virginia leaf ( then enter- 
ing its third century of white cultivation) that its 
exact nature is unknown. What is known is that 
N. tabacum, aboriginal product of Brazil and Yuca- 
tan, is the leaf that supplanted all others — first for 
personal use, then for trading. 

The power of petun 

Brazil, of course, was closest to seafarers of the 
Latin countries and was the hub of the tobacco 
world for a time. There is a suspicion that the plant 
received one of its names, "Herba Santa Croce," 
from the earliest name of Brazil, Sancta Cruz, 

rather than from the Cardinal Prospero di Santa 
Croce who is said to have brought tobacco from 
Portugal into Italy. However that may be, virtu- 
ally all the earliest writings on Brazil take ample 
note of the region's tobacco culture. Three mem- 
bers of de Villegagnon's colonizing expedition of 
1555 gave their impressions of the leaf, each color- 
ing his account according to his own personality. 
Nicolas Barre wrote simply: 

I have seen a plant that they call Petun, the size 
of large confrey; they suck the juice and inhale 
the smoke of this. With this plant they can 
endure hunger eight or nine days. 
Jean de Lery recalled that 

the priests of the Tupinamba tribe often taking a 
wooden cane, four or five feet long, at the end of 


As a curious herb of a strange new world, tobacco 
inspired tall tales among the scholars of Europe. 
This version of homo Americanus, with claws and 
almond eyes, is purely imaginary. His long cigar, 
however, probably resembled the real native thing. 

which there is some of the plant petun . . . dried 
and lighted, turning to all sides and blowing the 
smoke on the other savages, they said: 'Receive 
the spirit of power, that you may conquer your 

You will never see the Brazilians when they do 
not each have a tube of this plant hung around 
their necks. All the time and even in talking to 
you it helps keep them in countenance ... I will 
say that, having myself tried the smoke of petun, 
I have found that it refreshes and keeps one from 
feeling hungry. 
Andre Thevet, third of Villegagnon's chroniclers, 
also observed that the Brazilians believed tobacco 
to be "wonderfully useful for several things." His 
account was more descriptive and also more en- 

They carefully gather this herb and dry it in the 
shade of their little cabins. When it is dry they 
enclose a quantity of it in a palm leaf which is 
rather large, and roll it up about the length of a 
candle. They light it at one end and take in the 
smoke by the nose and the mouth . . . Even when 
they are taking counsel they inhale this smoke 
and then speak . . . The Christians there today 
have become very attached to this plant and per- 
fume . . . 
Thevet's reference to shade suggests the modern 
practise of raising shade-grown tobacco for rolling 
mild cigar leaf. His word "candle" is apt, since the 
cigar shape called "corona" was later patterned by 
the Cubans after a candle. But the most interesting 
aspect of all is the indication that others among the 
600 Frenchmen who accompanied Villegagnon 
took to tobacco. The attraction must have been im- 
mediate, for the colony lasted only a few years, 
the last survivors being wiped out by antagonistic 
Portuguese a dozen years after the ambitious French 
founded their "permanent" settlement. 

Thevet brought the first tobacco to France in 
1556 or 1557; the leaf he introduced was the mild 
Brazilian Nicotiana tabacum which is now smoked 
everywhere for pleasure. It is interesting that Thevet 
resisted the temptation to tell tall tobacco tales, 
and explicitly disavowed any value of the leaf as a 
wonder drug. Ironically, Thevet is virtually un- 
known except to scholars while Jean Nicot, who 
sent tobacco to the French court several years after- 
ward in the guise of a panacea, thereby gave his 
name to the plant. No doubt ambassador Nicot's 
"diplomacy" in naming tobacco the Queen's Herb 


in honor of Catherine de Medici had something to 
do with this. And the fact that he sent the pungent, 
small-leaved rustica — hardly fit for human con- 
sumption except in powdered pinches — had some- 
thing to do with the vogue for snuff which pervaded 
French court society for two hundred fifty years. 

A general human need 

Thevet's observations on the use of tobacco as a 
creature comfort were echoed later by one Juan de 
Cardenas, who wrote that the smoking of cigar- 
ettes, cigars and pipes was common among the 
white men in Mexico by the late sixteenth century. 

Like Thevet before him, Cardenas was enthusiastic 
about tobacco — "this precious herb is so general a 
human need not only for the sick but for the 
healthy." As a practising physician, he could be 
more specific in his "prescriptions" for its use than 
Thevet the adventurer. Nevertheless he was not so 
narrow in his concept of tobacco's usefulness as his 
medical colleagues nor, in fact, as most of the first 
explorers. "Soldiers," he wrote, "subject to priva- 
tions, keep off cold, hunger and thirst by smoking; 
all the inhabitants of the hot countries of the Indies 
alleviate their discomforts by the smoke of this 
blessed and medicinal plant." Perhaps, as a learned 
citizen of Mexico, Cardenas could afford to be more 
searching and more philosophical than the visiting 
explorers whose tales of tobacco as a sorcerer's aid 
were intended to produce a dramatic effect. At any 
rate, he took the trouble to set down his observa- 
tions in some detail: 

. . . some are accustomed to take it in small clay 
or silver pipes or those of hard wood. Others 
wrap the tobacco in a corn husk or in paper or in 
a tube of cane . . . The smoke which is taken in 
clay, silver or wood pipes is stronger, because 
only the plant is smoked and no other thing out- 
side of it; whereas smoked in a leaf, in paper or 
in a reed the smoke is weaker, since it is not only 
the tobacco which is smoked but also the leaf or 
the reed in which it is contained . . . 

Typically sensational was the account written by 
Girolamo Benzoni, an Italian who came to Central 
America in 1541. He noted that the certain dried 
leaves were 

veiy much prized by the slaves which the Span- 
iards brought from Ethiopia . . . And when they 
wish to use them they take a leaf of the husk of 
their grain, and putting one of the others in it, 
they roll them tight together, then they set fire 

Tall tobacco, about mans height, was illustrated 
with greater accuracy since the plant itself was 
brought to Europe only a generation or two after 
the discovery of the New World. It was raised at 
first not as a creature comfort but as a cure-all. 


to one end and, putting one end into their mouth, 
they draw their breath through it. Then the 
smoke goes into the mouth, the throat and the 
head, and they retain it as long as they can, 
because they feel a pleasure in it. 

He then adds, 

And there are some who take so much of it that 
they fall down as if they were dead and remain 
the greater part of the day or night unconscious 
. . . See what a pestiferous and wicked poison 
from the devil it is. It has happened several 
times to me only to smell it while going along 
the road, in the provinces of Guatemala and 
Nicaragua, or entering into the house of some 
Indian who had taken the smoke, which in the 
Mexican language is called tabacco, and sud- 
denly smelling the violent stench, I was forced 
to leave with speed. 

Elsewhere north of Mexico explorers recorded 
tobacco in use both as a medicine and as a pleasur- 
able custom. Giovanni de Verrazano explored the 
Atlantic Coast from North Carolina to New Eng- 
land in 1524 for Francis I of France, remaining 15 

days in the Narragansett Bay area. "If afflicted with 
a wound," he related of the Indians, "they heal 
themselves with fire ( tobacco smoke ) without out- 
cry." So another term for tobacco was coined: 
"heathen wound plant." Better known and more 
factual was the observation of Jacques Cartier, who 
voyaged the St. Lawrence River in 1534 and 1535. 

They also have a plant of which they gather a 
great supply in the summer to last during the 
winter. This they prize veiy much, and only 
men use it, in the following manner. They dry 
it in the sun and carry it on their necks in a 
small animal skin, instead of a bag, with a pipe 
(cornet) of stone or wood . . . they never go 
anywhere without these things. We have tried 
this smoke; after taking some into our mouths 
it seemed like pepper it was so hot. 
This, to be sure, was Nicotiana rustica, the north- 
ern leaf. Cartier's seared taste buds were an ade- 
quate explanation why cigar smoking was not 
popular among the tribes having no access to the 
large-leaved Nicotiana tabacum of South and Cen- 

Jacques Cartier, who voyaged the Saint Lawrence 
in 1534, described the tobacco smoked by the Indi- 
ans in pipes: "it seemed like pepper it was so hot." 

Earliest known drawing of the calumet, or straight 
pipe, was made by Father Hennepin, who explored 
the Great Lakes and upper Mississippi in 1679-80. 


tral America. Pipe-smoking was then the most 
acceptable way to consume strong tobacco, and 
remains so to the present day. 

The classic description of tobacco in North 
America was furnished by Jacques Le Moyne de 
Morgues, who accompanied Rene de Laudon- 
niere's 1564 expedition to Florida. Le Moyne not 
only described the life of the natives but turned out 
forty-seven paintings of them. One of several 
which illustrated smoking was captioned: 

. . . They also have a plant which the Brazilians 
call petum and the Spaniards tapaco. After 
carefully drying its leaves, they put them in the 
bowl of a pipe. They light the pipe, and, hold- 
ing the other end in their mouths, they inhale 
the smoke so deeply that it comes out through 
their mouths and noses . . . 

Enter the English 

The same year Sir John Hawkins landed at 
Laudonniere's Fort Caroline and carried back to 
England this description of pipe smoking: 

Accuracy of Hennepin's sketch is shown by modern 
photograph of Indian with his calumet or "pipe of 
peace." Feathers were highly prized but optional. 

Sir Francis Drake landed in California about 1579, 
afterwards wrote that "the people came every day, 
with feathers and small bags filled with Tabaco." 

The Floridians when they travel have a kind of 
herb dried, which with a cane, and an earthen 
cup at the end, with fire, and the dried herbs put 
together, do suck through the cane the smoke 
thereof, which smoke satisfieth their hunger, 
and therewith they live four or five days without 
meat or drink . . . 

Appended to this description of native custom 
is a curious comment on the French settlers' atti- 
tude toward tobacco: 

. . . and this all the Frenchmen used for this pur- 
pose: yet do they hold opinion withal, that it 
causeth water and flame to void from their stom- 
acks . . . 

Thus among the Europeans the appetite for to- 
bacco was at variance with their intellectual dis- 
trust of any native custom, including smoking. This 
puritanical contradiction was to reappear many 
times in the later history of Europeans, Americans 
and tobacco. 

Hawkins and his men were said to have intro- 
duced tobacco into England, and this is likely in view 
of the many voyages he made to the New World. 
The other sea-adventurers of the Elizabethan age, 
including Sir Francis Drake, followed thick and 
fast. They searched for the Northwest Passage, 
traded in the West Indies, fought the Spaniards, 
rounded Cape Horn, and explored the Pacific. 
Drake touched at California in 1578 or 1579, and 
his chronicle says "The people came every day, 
with feathers and small bags filled with Tabaco." 


Pipes were a nearly-universal form of smoking and 
probably the oldest. The highly-developed culture 
of the Mayas included both the tubular pipe (black 

figure, bottom) and elbow pipe with bowl (figure 
at top center). Cigarette wrapped in cane and cigar 
in tobacco wrapper were " self -burning" tube pipes. 

Pipe's progress 

Among the native tribes up and down the hemi- 
sphere, pipe-smoking was the universal form of con- 
suming tobacco.. Even the Tupinambas of Brazil 
and the Mayans of Yucatan, favored with gentle 
Nicotiana tabacum, smoked the weed in pipes as 
well as cigars. The Mayans knew both the tubular 
pipe or "cane" and the elbow pipe with its upright 
bowl. There was hardly a culture in North or South 
America that did not leave some kind of pipe 
among its silent relics. 

Botanical evidence also suggests that the pipe 
came first. Wild Nicotiana species, which had the 
widest distribution, were all small-leaved and hence 
unsuitable for rolling into cigars. Such tobacco was 
crumbled or even powdered, then tamped into a 
tubular receptacle to be lighted. The first known 

picture of the tobacco plant printed in Europe 
( 1570 ) was accompanied by a diagram of a smok- 
ing tube used by Indians and sailors. This was not 
the ordinary tube pipe of stone, wood or clay, since 
the spiral twists of a flexible wrapper appear quite 
plainly (page 40). It could be called a palm- 
wrapped cigar or cigarette or, more precisely, a 
transitional stage between the tube pipe made to 
take a filler of crushed Nicotiana rustics, and the 
cigar, a roll of fragrant broadleaf filler wrapped in 
a smooth leaf of the same. The appearance of this 
puro — the leaf, the whole leaf, and nothing but 
the leaf — must have followed the appearance of 
the tube pipe or palm funnel just as Nicotiana 
tabacum followed its wild parent plant. 

The tobacco tradition, like all mores, is evolu- 
tionary rather than revolutionary. The first use of 


Tube pipe of San Juan Pueblo near Santa Fe. Used 
by priest in prayer for rain, it is called cloud- 
blower. Design signifies rain falling from clouds. 

Elbow pipe of Aztec civilization, central Mexico. 
Logically, pipes appear among artifacts of ancient 
peoples simultaneously with origin of agriculture . 

dark, rank tobacco — among Europeans just as 
among the Amerinds — required some dilution as 
a self-defense against tonguebite. Hence the pipe. 
Only the Spanish and Portuguese encountered grow- 
ing broadleaf and were able to take over the ad- 
vanced forms of smoking — cigars and cigarettes — 
from the savage Americans without repeating 
the evolutionary process themselves. Thus Seville 
smoked cigars and cigarettes for two centuries — 
roughly 1600 to 1800 — while the rest of Europe 
struggled with "nose warmers." Clay, a time-hon- 
ored material for furnaces, was an obvious pipe 
material; the early pipes of Europe were stubby- 
stemmed "cutty pipes" or long-stemmed "church- 
wardens," both clay. In Turkey, the use of clay was 
varied with terracotta; in Alsace, with porcelain; 
and in Germany, with meerschaum, a light silicate. 
In the U. S. the classic variant was the "Missouri 
meerschaum" or corn-cob; in England a walnut 

shell and straw likewise served the indigent. 

Although it is their stone and pottery pipes which 
survive, the American Indians by and large smoked 
wooden pipes when the conquistador es and dis- 
cubridores encountered them. Rosewood, cherry- 
wood and Corsican briar root have evolved from 
the calumet. 

The pipe was not the elementary form of tobacco 
consumption; no doubt chewing of tobacco came 
before it, as being not only possible but natural to 
the pre-cultural, or hunting-gathering stage. Pipes 
emerge as symbols of the transition to settled agri- 
culture. It is yet another step before wild or semi- 
wild tobacco is replaced by the choice broadleaved 
species, and a quality of leaf good enough to smoke 
directly, in a self-consuming tube, is grown. But 
only sophisticated civilizations carry tobacco to the 
next phase, the "recipe" phase, where the already- 
delicate leaf is flavored and perfumed. At this stage 

Upper pipe is from northern Chile, lower from the 
west coast of Mexico. Nicotiana rustica was grown 
along Pacific coast from Mexico to northern Chile. 

Stone pipe with head-handle is from lower part of 
Chile. Pipes were smoked through Nortli and Soutli 
America a thousand years before Columbus landed. 




Cane cigarettes, like miniature tube pipes, were 
used by Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. Cigar- 
ettes are actual size; that on right is virtually the 
same size as 85-millimeter "king size" cigarettes. 

Cigars were often tied with string, as in pottery 
picture of Maya. Posture of smoker, lack of ritual 
symbols show cigars place in everyday activities. 

the ritual of worship is one thing, the ritual of hedo- 
nistic living is another. For example, Bernal Diaz 
del Castillo recalled Montezuma's after-dinner 
custom : 

They also set upon the table three painted and 
gilded tubes containing liquidambar mixed with 
a certain plant they call tobaco; and when he 
finished eating, after they had sung and danced 
for him, and the table was cleared, he took the 
smoke of one of those tubes, and little by little 
with it he fell asleep. 

The ambiguity of the word "civilization" can be 
realized from the fact that these same Aztecs also 
smoked ritual pipes on the sun-platforms where 
beating hearts were torn out of living humans as 
sacrifices to their deities. Be that as it may, the 
flavored reed-cigarette is not mentioned outside of 
Mexico and even there it was not a common article 
but a luxury. Cane cigarettes were used in what is 
now New Mexico by the settled but not sophisti- 
cated peoples of the desert pueblos; cane cigars by 
the Tupinambas of Brazil. These, however, were 
relatively crude forms of smoking — first cousins to 
the simple tube pipe. 

The sociological aspects of tobacco use had little 
effect on the attitude of the discoverers toward it. 
They did not recognize the social systems of the 
American Indians as "cultures" at all. They could 
recognize worth in American products denied to 
Europe by nature and distance; they could not 
admit worth in the usages of naked people with 
dark skins. For this reason tobacco as a creature 
comfort first passed from the brown natives of the 
Caribbean to the black slaves of that region and of 
Seville. Only as a new therapeutic herb could the 
leaf command serious attention from the white 
Europeans; those who smoked for pleasure did so 
with a sense of sin. 

The two-step nature of tobacco's passage from 
New World to Old is curiously reflected in the first 
"cigar-store Indians" to be set up in the shops of 
London. They were not American Indians at all, 
but blackamoors. As the Arawak and Carib natives 
of the Antilles died off under white rule, imported 
Africans took their place. In little gardens next to 
their huts these Negroes tilled tobacco for their 
own use, and for sale to mariners whose sensual 
curiosity was stronger than their sense of sin. It 
became usual in European ports to see sailors chew- 
ing, or puffing, or snuffing the strange, exotic leaf. 


Virtuous vegetable 

By the end of the New World's first century of 
recorded — or rather, semirecorded — history, the 
virtues of tobacco were not only well known, but 
generally exaggerated by those who wrote about it. 
Herbalists and learned physicians of Europe ex- 
tolled its panacean qualities in great detail, many 
of them without having so much as seen a leaf of 
the plant. 

Great names now enter the story of tobacco: 
Damiao de Goes, archivist for the Portuguese king, 
who cultivated the amazing plant in the royal gar- 
dens and dubbed this ( Portuguese ) importation as 
the "holy herb" of miraculous power; Jean Nicot, 
French ambassador to Lisbon, who was given a plant 
by de Goes and in 1561 sent tobacco to the French 
court, a deed commemorated by the scientific name 
of the plant, Nicotiana; Cardinal Prospero di 

Santa Croce, credited with introducing the herba 
panacea into Italy the same year; and in England 
Sir Walter Raleigh who won Queen Elizabeth's 
approval of his pipe and so made the British Isles 
safe for tobacco fanciers. These are the names and 
dates given in most of the chronicles, each with a 
touch of dramatic spice; but the essential story of 
the tobacco is much simpler. It rests neither on 
powerful promoters nor on the prescriptions of 
learned medicine men, but on the trade in leaf 
begun well before they appeared on the scene. The 
story began with Rodrigo de Jerez who smoked, 
not to impress a court or to cure a wound, but 
because he liked it. And it continued with other 
sailors, Spanish and Portuguese, who found in 
tobacco the golden leaf of the New World while 
their captains were still dreaming of El Dorado, the 
golden king who did not exist. 

Primitive Lacandons still grow tobacco for their descendants of smoker on opposite page, and their 
cigars in thick jungles of Chiapas and Guatemala cigars may be a continuation of the world's oldest 
where Maya ruins are buried. These savages may be tobacco tradition, going back perhaps 2,000 years. 



Common seamen first took to tobacco as a creature 
comfort, generating a demand for it in the world's 
port cities. Portugal and Spain grew it for export 
in their new colonies, Brazil and the West Indies. 
The leaf left their tropical plantations in crude 
manufactured form, called "twist" or tobacco rope. 

Because the educated Spaniard despised the 
brown unbaptised Americans, he was slow to 
understand their custom of smoking and chewing 
tobacco. And because of this, tobacco's potential 
value as an article of commerce did not occur to 
him at first. It is not surprising that, with gold on 
the brain, Columbus and his men threw away the 
"certain dried leaves" offered them by the Arawaks 
along with fruits and wooden spears. 

But it is strange that, amidst all the "history" 
written down in the eventful century between 
Columbus' first voyage in 1492 and Drake's last 
trip to the West Indies in 1600, so little of the 
essential story of Americans and their tobacco was 
spelled out. To be sure, the navigators of that age 
were storytellers, not sociologists. Many used to- 
bacco as "corroborative detail intended to lend 
artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and 
unconvincing narrative." Anxious to amaze their 
countrymen, they chronicled it as a wonder of the 

new-found world. The renowned botanists of Eu- 
rope seized on it as a new ingredient in their quest 
for the "wonder drug" that would cure everything. 
Though an ambassador, Jean Nicot seized his 
chance to play the discoverer and acted as a 
learned witch doctor to the French court (one of 
the early names for tobacco was herbe de Tambas- 
sadeur). No doubt Sir Walter Raleigh also used the 
"witching weed" for dramatic effect, and created a 
sensation by parading his pipe before an enchanted 
Elizabeth. Certainly he was not the original British 
promoter of tobacco, which was smoked by goodly 
numbers of Englishmen thirty or forty years before 
he puffed his stuff at court. 

Increasing familiarity with the Indians of the 
Americas soon made it clear that tobacco was not 
simply the ritualistic embroidery of a savage soci- 
ety. A few Europeans observed the part it played 
in the everyday life of ordinary natives. A few 
mentioned — with cultured disdain — the attraction 


tobacco held for ordinary colonists. And a few 
referred, more or less in passing, to the tobacco 
trade between Indian tribes which had been going 
on for some hundreds of years. But it took about a 
century of observation before tobacco in European 
eyes ceased to be a kind of home-grown savage nos- 
trum, before the white world realized that it had 
long been a kind of vegetable wampum. 

Strong leaf, sweet leaf 

Apparently the first white man to observe the 
American tobacco "industry" in its primeval state 
was Hernan Cortez, who conquered Mexico in 
1519. In Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, Indians 
sold "canes perfumed with liquidambar, filled with 
tobacco." Elaborate pipes as well as dried tobacco 
leaves were also sold in the market place by the 
naked Aztecs. As we have already noted, Bernal 
Diaz del Castillo described Montezuma smoking 
after dinner a tube holding liquidambar, "mixed 

with a certain plant they call tobaco." The cap- 
tains from Castille were much too preoccupied 
with blood and gold to bother about dried leaves. 
But a few years after the conquest, the priest Ber- 
nardino de Sahagun became missionary to the Mex- 
ican Indians and remained for 61 years. Sahagun, 
a most perceptive individual, wrote that "he who 
sells picietl crushes the leaves first, mixing them 
with lime, and he rubs the mixture well between 
his hands." The missionary was one of the first 
Europeans to discriminate between the two major 
varieties of tobacco, for picietl was a harsh, coarse 
species (Nicotiana rustica) growing in the colder 
latitudes, as distinct from yietl (Nicotiana tabacum), 
a milder, sweeter sub-tropical species greatly im- 
proved by careful cultivation. The distinction is 
important to the history of tobacco, for the world- 
wide commerce that soon developed was based on 
Nicotiana tabacum. The crude Nicotiana rustica 
was a "poor man's tobacco" hardly worth exporting; 


First white man to notice commercial distinction 
between the two major tobacco species was priest, 
Sahagim. He lived with Mexicans from 1529 to 1590. 

Picture illustrating Sahagun's manuscript shows a 
native herald with trumpet and lighted cigarette. 
Latter was commercial item among Mexican Indians. 

even savage palates required it to be mixed with 
lime or red willow bark before it could be smoked. 
Of picietl Sahagiin wrote: "Placed in the mouth 
it produces dizziness and stupefies." (Perhaps it 
did!) But to yietl, the smooth leaf, he attributed 
not only sweet-smoking qualities as a kind of cere- 
monial incense, but also a wide range of healing 
powers as a medicine for abscesses, sores, cold, 
snakebite, chills, convulsions, skin eruptions and 
internal disorders. 

Demand on the prairie 

About 1528, as Sahagun was taking up his long 
residence in Mexico, Cabeza de Vaca with 400 men 
took ship for Florida in search of the fabled seven 
cities of Cibola ( which eventually turned out to be 
seven Indian pueblos along the upper Rio Grande 
river in what is now the state of New Mexico). 
Shipwreck and suffering shrunk de Vaca's force to 
four men in a few years. They were found in Texas, 
and de Vaca lived to write about his adventure and 
about the Indians of "Malhado" island: "Through- 
out this country they intoxicate themselves with a 
smoke, and they give whatever they possess for it." 
This early observation foreshadows the use of to- 
bacco as a prime article of exchange in the 19th 
century commerce of the prairies — a barter econ- 
omy between Indians and whites. 

The first chronicler of the "rites of the islanders" 
was a monk, Romano Pane, who saw smoking only 
as a priestly function, a ritual which endowed the 
priests with gifts of prophecy. Fernandez de Ovi- 
edo, who went to the Antilles in 1514 to smelt gold, 
did notice that ordinary men found pleasure in 
tobacco. Some of the Negro slaves brought by the 
Spaniards "grow the plant on their owners' farms 
and inhale its smoke, for they say that if they take 
tobacco when their day's work is over they forget 
their fatigue." Yet in spite of this observation Ovi- 
edo apparently never tried tobacco himself. Like 
nonsmokers of the centuries to follow he "could 
not imagine what pleasure they derive from this 

Neither could the first of the great missionary- 
historians, Bartolome de las Casas. But he too noted 
that the Spaniards, like their black slaves, tried 
tobacco in Cuba and found it good, "The herb," 
he wrote, "is rolled up like a sort of bundle in a 
dried leaf. . . . They then light one end of it and 


draw in the smoke at the other." But las Casas was 
preoccupied with the powers of darkness, and be- 
lieved the devil was involved in the sniffing of 
cohobba and in the inspirations that followed. 

Oviedo was published in 1535, las Casas in 1527. 
But even while they were seeing demons and devils, 
a global industry was springing to life under their 
uptilted noses. This development, hardly mentioned 
in print, was accomplished by men whose names 
(outside of Rodrigo de Jerez) are not even known: 
the sailors. 

Portuguese and pigs 9 bladders 

Sailors have always been the world's natural 
traders, quick to stir up a want, able to give "place 
utility" to the satisfaction of that want. It did not 
take them long to observe the pleasure-giving qual- 
ities of tobacco among the "Spice Islanders," to 
acquire the habit of its use themselves, and then to 
carry it from port to port in pigs' bladders — just as 
the merchant seamen of World War II quickly set 
up a flourishing business in captured Luger pistols 
after June 6, 1944. The speed and scope of then- 
success is amazing. In Portugal proper, they spread 
the consumption of tobacco very soon after Colum- 
bus' first voyage. There was believed to be a tobacco 
merchant in Lisbon in 1523, although it is not clear 
whether he was "Antonio, tobacco mercador" or 
"Antonioto Baco, mercador." During the first thirty 
years following Columbus' discovery they not only 
introduced tobacco into India but established a 
regular leaf trade with that country: East Indiamen 
bound home were carrying it among their cargoes. 
Fumo ( tobacco ) was cultivated in the Portuguese 
colony of Sao Vicente, Brazil, in 1534. The Yucatan 
variety was transplanted about the same time to 
Santo Domingo and Cuba (whose natives had 
previously cultivated Nicotiana rustica); a market 
had obviously developed among the European set- 
tlers. And by 1548 some sixteen Portuguese settle- 
ments along the Brazilian coast were exporting 
tobacco to Lisbon. 

In mid-sixteenth century the port of Lisbon was 
the crossroads of the seven seas. Before the century 
was out, Portuguese tobacco was being sold in 
Japan and China and had been introduced to the 
islands of the Malay Archipelago as well. ( The rival 
Spanish were first with tobacco in the Philippines. ) 
Early in the seventeenth century, Arabia and 

Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked in 1 528, wandered 
lost through Texas deserts for several years. He 
described Indians who "intoxicate themselves with 
smoke, and they give whatever they possess for it." 

Abyssinia were added to Portugal's list. 

After Bartolomo Diaz, Vasco de Gama and 
Cabral opened the sea-lane around the Cape of 
Good Hope, Portugal enjoyed a monopoly on trade 
along the east and west coasts of Africa. The word 
"f umu" ( based on the Portuguese fumo ) was used 
in the Congo for tobacco, suggesting its introduction 
from Portugal's plantations in Brazil. On the other 
side of the dark continent, the Arabs called tobacco 
"Bortugal." It is a tribute to the wide-ranging Portu- 
guese sailors that both central Africa and Arabia 
took up smoking even before nearby Italy adopted 
the custom. 

There is, to be sure, one logical reason why this 
commercial ten-strike, this golden trade, was 
slighted by the scholarly writers of the time. To- 


Tobacco's place in mystical nature-worship of the The association of smoking with heathen rites made 
American Indian isexpressedin woodcut "The Great it unacceptable to Europeans who first encountered 
Spirit," published in nineteenth-century New York, the custom; its part in daily life was overlooked. 

bacco was associated with heathen ritual, and in 
the sight of God-fearing Christians was therefore 
wholly evil. This attitude was first applied to Rod- 
rigo de Jerez, who smoked as he strolled the streets 
of his native Ayamonte, was suspected of harboring 
a devil, and was promptly clapped into prison by 
the Inquisition. (When he emerged, most of his 
countrymen had taken up smoking! ) 

Whiffing around the world 

A similar reception awaited the first smokers of 
tobacco in England, Switzerland, Greece, and Italy, 
while the death penalty was imposed in Russia, 
Turkey, Persia and India. Most violent of the anti- 
tobacco monarchs was Murad IV of Turkey who 
forbad his subjects to smoke in 1633 and thereafter 
executed smokers regularly — as many as eighteen 
in a day. Nevertheless, the trade prospered. Tobacco 

penetrated Africa along with, and as barter for, the 
slave-traders. Magellan brought it around Cape 
Horn to the Philippines. In faraway Japan 150 per- 
sons were apprehended for buying and selling 
tobacco contrary to the Shogun's command and 
were in jeopardy of their lives, according to an 
Englishman's letter dated 1614. By 1644 tobacco 
had taken a strong enough hold on the Chinese to 
warrant similar attention by their emperor. Great 
stores of tobacco were burned. Still, the golden 
trade grew. 

History was to repeat itself many times in the 
years to follow, and tobacco's continuing spread 
was to be punctuated by violent controversies about 
its use. But the growth phase initiated by the Por- 
tuguese mariners was itself a repetition of previous 
history— the spread of tobacco through North, Cen- 
tral and South America. 



This "prehistoric history" begins with the Mayan 
civilization of Yucatan and Central America, which 
antedates the birth of Christ. The priest-dominated 
Mayans left stone carvings of priests smoking as a 
part of sun-worship. Nicotiana tabacum is a sub- 
tropical plant in origin, and its special taste and 
aroma have been known in Central America for 
perhaps two thousand years — certainly for the last 
fifteen hundred. The first picture of tobacco-smok- 
ing is thought to be the Old Man of Palenque, 
carved in stone by the Mayans in what is now 
Chiapas, Mexico. The old man is clearly a priest, 
the pipe is a straight tubular or "cane" pipe, and 
the temple in which the carving was found dates 
from about 400 A.D. It is significant that tobacco 
consumption in its most advanced form — the fla- 
vored cigarette — was in everyday use less than a 
hundred miles from Palenque in the year 1519, 
when Cortez landed in nearby Tabasco. The year 
before Juan de Grijalva had seen cigarette smokers 
when he landed a little farther to the northeast at 
Yucatan. (Both tobago, the Caribbean word for 
snuff-pipe, and tabaco, the European word for the 
leaf, may be derived from Tabasco.) The early 
Mayan use of tobacco as an incense accompanying 
worship had its Old World analogue in the religious 
smoke rituals of the Greeks and Romans. And the 
Old World smoking of hempseed after meals by 
Scythians and Babylonians, as related by Hero- 
dotus, suggests the modern (and Mayan) after- 
dinner cigar. At any rate, the common man of 
Central America did not leave the leaf to his priests 
but used it himself as an everyday pleasure. 

It is thought that migrating Mayans brought 
pipe and plant to the more northerly Toltec and 
Aztec tribes. This is suggested by the circumstance, 
noted by Sahagun, that the Aztecs knew both the 
small-leaved northern species, Nicotiana rustica, 
and the large-leaved subtropical plant, Nicotiana 
tabacum. The Aztecs enjoyed a culture parallel to 
that of the Mayans, and were sufficiently advanced 
and pleasure-loving to have adopted the more pal- 
atable plant as a result of cultural and agricultural 
diffusion from the south. Tobacco smoke accom- 
panied human Aztec sacrifices on the sun-platforms; 
and as a great metropolis, with a population thrice 
that of Lisbon in 1519, Tenochtitlan knew the after- 
dinner smoke as well. 

Indian transplant 

In eastern North America generally, and in the 
Mississippi basin particularly, pipe-smoking began 
around the year 500. Archeologists have traced a 
a great change in Indian life occurring about that 
time, a change from the very primitive hunting- 
gathering stage to a new way of life based on 
settled villages, agriculture, pottery-making and 

Oldest known representation of smoker is Old Man 
of Palenque (southern Mexico). Stone carving from 
Maya temple shows priest puffing on tubular pipe. 



"Smoke -filled room" of U.S. politics derives from 
ancient Mayan and Aztec use of cigars or pipes in 

council chambers. The custom spread northward to 
U.S. and Canadian tribes, persists to present day. 

pipe-smoking. Some attribute this change to an 
"invasion" by the Mayans, whose square pyramids 
suggest the structures left by the North American 
"Mound Builders." While archeologists can estab- 
lish the time when pipes appeared among these 
mound-building tribes, their science cannot specifi- 
cally identify tobacco as the vegetable smoked. 
However, the long-standing use of tobacco in Cen- 
tral America and the spread of corn, beans and 
squash from that region to the northern tribes 
makes it almost certain that tobacco, either alone 
or in combination with some other leaf, was used 
to fill the stone pipes found in the mounds. 

The Mandan Indians of Dacotah Territory, first 
seen by white men in 1738, are believed to have 
been closest culturally to the Mound Builders of a 
thousand years before. They were sedentary dwell- 
ers, clustering in stout lodges of timber roofed with 
earth, seeking safety in numbers as well as in walls. 
They stood in the same antagonistic relationship to 
the marauding nomads of other Sioux nations as 

did the Mound Builders to the primitive hunters 
surrounding them. Most important, the Mandans 
grew their own food, a step which other tribes in 
and around the buffalo country found hard to take. 
Along with corn and beans the Mandans raised 
tobacco for use in their pipes and, possibly, for 

Still farther north, in the Great Lakes region of 
the U. S. and Canada, tobacco was not only grown 
for tribal use but also for inter-tribal trading when 
the white explorers— Frenchmen in this area— first 
appeared. Samuel de Champlain was the great 
name here. One reason he noticed the savage com- 
merce in tobacco was, perhaps, the fact that he had 
witnessed the flourishing Spanish trade in the West 
Indies around 1600 before mounting his expedition 
to Canada eight years later. As an adventurer on a 
Spanish ship, Champlain noted tobacco production 
on Puerto Rico and described the manufacture of 
plug or twist tobacco on Santo Domingo. There 
tobacco "dried and then made into little cakes" had 


Carved pipes left by Mound Builders (left, from the Mayan and Toltec civilizations were diffused 
Grave Creek, Virginia; right, from Chillicothe, along Mississippi Valley. Their sedentary way of 
Ohio) date from about 500 A.D. Around that time life included cultivation of corn, beans, tobacco. 

already became an article of trade called "casse- 
tabac" from the wicker baskets in which it was 

In 1615 Champlain was exploring Quebec, mak- 

ing friends of some tribes and enemies of others 
and trying to chart the country around the "Sweet- 
water Sea" — Lake Huron. One tribe of Indians 
was so conspicuously devoted to Nicotiana rustica 

Mandan Indians of North Dakota, as seen by white against raiders, and lived by farming rather than 
man in 17S8, had culture resembling that of early animal-like hunting and gathering. They too grew 
Mound Builders. They clustered in towns to protect tobacco and smoked pipes in their timbered lodges. 


that they became known as the Tobacco Nation, or 
Petuns. Like most other farmers whose land can 
produce the leaf, these Tobacco Hurons or Wyan- 
dots used their crops in trade; each year they trav- 
eled to Quebec with corn and tobacco to exchange 
for moose skins. Details of their leaf cultivation 
were not recorded, except that the men cared for 
the tobacco crop while the women grew corn, 
beans, squash, peas and melons. Jean de Brebeuf 
in 1636 wrote this description of tobacco consump- 
tion by the Hurons : 

They believe that there is nothing so suitable 
as Tobacco to appease the passions; that is why 
they never attend a council without a pipe or 
calumet in their mouths. The smoke, they sav, 
gives them intelligence, and enables them to see 
clearly through the most intricate matters. 

It appears that the Hurons carried their tobacco in 
a crude manufactured form, for there are references 

to "tobacco cakes." Its value as an article of trade 
did not depend only on its use as a creature comfort, 
for it was used in rituals by most of the Northeast- 
ern tribes. Before a hunt, for example, tobacco and 
skins were fastened to the end of a pole and offered 
to Oussakita, the manito of all the animals that 
move on the earth or in the air; the same offering 
was made to Michibichi, the manito of waters and 
fishes, except that it was thrown into the water 
rather than raised in the air. Bits of tobacco were 
thrown into ceremonial fires, or even into stormy 
waters, to appease the gods. 

Tribes of the Great Lakes country suffered fre- 
quent epidemics in their raw climate. Among their 
cures was the "sweat bath": a sweat house was 
made of stakes and beaver robes, and vapor cre- 
ated inside by throwing water or tobacco on red 
hot stones. In times of illness or other trouble, it 

Portuguese were first to plant tobacco for export old print of a plantation scene in the Cape Verdes 
in their new possessions. These included Brazil, shows a common native (E) with an exaggerated pipe 
the Cape Verde Islands, and coastal Africa. This and a slave (F) with tusk, presumably from Africa. 


Spain followed Portugal in building a leaf trade, became "Spanish gold." Most Spanish leaf, was from 
but did business with Europe while the Portuguese West Indies although some was raised and cured in 
were preoccupied with Africa and Asia. So tobacco Paraguay, where this picture was drawn from life. 

was almost automatic among the Lakes tribes to 
throw tobacco into the family fire as an appeal to 
the gods. It is strikingly evident that, in one way or 
another, the tobacco tradition had been implanted 
among virtually all the Indian peoples from Para- 
guay to Quebec by the time the whites crossed the 
Atlantic. From Mexico northward, tobacco moved 
largely by land; to the south, where the matted 
jungle limited overland travel, it moved by water. 

Brown sailors and white 

As the seagoing Phoenicians were to the urban 
Babylonians, so the Carib Indians of the Caribbean 
islands were to the urban Aztecs. Caribs ranged 
the Antilles, found Nicotiana tabacum, and prob- 
ably spread it through much of South America as 
well as some West Indian islands. Tobacco was 
"launched"— geographically, socially and even eco- 
nomically — by brown sailors in the Americas long 
before the white sailors came from Europe. 

The Spanish sailors were almost as alert to ex- 

ploit tobacco as were the Portuguese, and had the 
advantage of controlling the West Indies and Cen- 
tral America, convenient sources of supply for the 
European trade. 

Nicotiana tabacum, the commercial leaf, was 
transplanted from Yucatan to Cuba and to Haiti 
during the 1530s. The tobacco seen by Columbus 
and smoked by Rodrigo de Jerez may have been 
not the prized "henbane of Peru" but the powerful 
"yellow henbane" or rustica which at the time of 
the transplant was being tried and rejected as hot 
and peppery by Cartier on the St. Lawrence River. 

This white transplant of the mild, sweet species 
into the West Indies was more for the convenience 
of Spanish slaves and sailors than for serious com- 
mercial exploitation. But trade in tobacco was self- 
generating: from Indian to slave, from slave to 
sailor, from sailor to anybody in any port. The new 
leaf was first recognized by Spanish officialdom in 
1557, when slaves were barred from keeping tav- 
erns for sailors and from selling tobacco. Traffic in 


First picture of a New World tobacco factory was stripper (2) removes the stem or midrib from each 

published in 1667, probably depicts an establish- leaf, still a hand operation in many factories of 

ment somewhere in the West Indies. Under the today. The workers at (3) and (4) are twisting the 

shed at right (1) leaf is being air-cured under shelter tobacco leaves into a kind of cable and rolling it 

as much of today s harvested tobacco is cured. The into tight coils on a wheel, a form of preparation 


which is now obsolete. "Tobacco roll," also called 

"twist" or "rope" was the universal form of tobacco 

j product far nearly three centuries. Made of tough, 

dark tobacco which is now valueless except as chew, 

lit could be sliced into a pipe, chewed, or ground 

into snuff. Under the shed at left men are scraping 
and grinding roots of cassava or manioc, a tropical 
plant native to America which yields tapioca. The 
house of the colonial master is at the rear, with 
its occupant casting a supervisory eye on the work. 


tobacco by then was heavy enough, and profitable 
enough, for white Spaniards to take over. Europe 
at the same time was responding en masse to the 
"Spanish" leaf brought from Iberian colonies, by 
initiating tobacco culture of its own. First plantings 
are dated in 1554 for Belgium, 1556 for France, 
1559 for Germany, 1561 for Holland, and 1570 for 
England. It required only a demonstration of smok- 
ability for the leaf to create a demand in strength. 
The universality of its spread in Africa was strik- 
ingly summarized some centuries later by the Brit- 
ish sociologist Lord Raglan: 

There is not a single cultural element common 
to all the territories and peoples of black Africa 
with the single exception of tobacco. 
The same may be said for green America: not one 
native culture in temperate and tropical North, 
Central and South America was found to lack some 
form of tobacco usage. (Some scholars, reasoning 
backwards from Raglan's observation, advanced 
the theory that tobacco originated in the dark con- 
tinent, a theory since disproved.) 

As a Spanish possession before 1590, Holland took 
to tobacco before the British did. Netherlanders 
have been inveterate pipe-smokers for 375 years. 

So Columbus' search for the Spice Islands of 
the East ended in the finding of an herb that re- 
placed spice as the "wealth of the Indies." The Age 
of Exploration introduced four exotic stimulants: 
tobacco from Brazil, tea from China, coffee from 
Africa, and chocolate from Mexico. All were de- 
nounced as wicked owing to their heathen origin; 
but while the tobacco ritual was not acceptable to 
Christian clerics as black magic, tobacco medicine 
was acceptable to Christian apothecaries as brown 
magic. This was the wedge by which the savage 
custom pried open the Old World market; for a 
while virtually all the shops which dispensed 
tobacco were those of apothecaries. Holland espe- 
cially, a Spanish possession until 1590, took eagerly 
to the "bewitching vegetable," which had been 
brought to the Low Countries as early as 1550. A 
brisk traffic between the Antilles and the English 
Channel sprang up. Nearby England was just as 
logical a market as the Netherlands, and the Span- 
ish sailors proceeded to tap it, despite and during 
the bitter sea war between the two nations that 
raged until 1604. Cornwall, the westernmost jut of 
land in southern England, was the point of entry 
in the 1590s, when Spanish leaf was regularly 
smuggled ashore along the south coast to avoid the 
Queen's penny-a-pound duty. It is perhaps a meas- 
ure of the strength of demand that the Cornishmen 
refused to countenance an import duty on tobacco 
and fixed the royal tax collector at sword's point to 
keep him from the performance of his duties. 

Dutch seamen added pull to the market by smug- 
gling tobacco from the West Indies to Europe — 
mainly to England— beginning about the year 1575. 
By the end of the centmy tobacco completely dom- 
inated the Spanish West Indies; as Philip III recog- 
nized officially, "it is the principal crop the natives 
possess" and "was highly esteemed and sought 
after." Mainly to injure the Dutch, whose smug- 
gling activities he could not put down, the Span- 
ish king decreed in 1606 that all tobacco planting 
in Santo Domingo, Cuba, Margarita, Venezuela ? 
Puerto Rico, and other islands should cease for ten 
years. But Philip's attempt at remote control of 
his colonies was no more effective than his attempt 
to sweep the Dutchmen from the Spanish Main. 

Meanwhile the seafarers of England, intent on 
beating Spain at her own game — piracy — could 
not fail to notice the brown leaf which was being 


Sir John Hawkins preyed on Portugese Africa and on 
the Spanish West Indies between 1562 and 1565. He 
and his crew probably brought smoking to England. 

converted into Spanish gold. Sir John Hawkins 
attacked Portuguese West Africa in 1562 and the 
Spanish Antilles two years later. Returning by way 
of the Florida coast and the French colony at Fort 
Caroline, he had a third opportunity to see and try 
smoking. On the basis of probabilities, Hawkins is 
assumed to have begun the tobacco vogue in Brit- 
ain. In 1585 Drake blazed through the Spanish 
Main, burning, boarding, plundering. When he 
reached the island of Dominica ( Haiti ) the natives, 
by then no lovers of Spaniards and their works, 
were said to have brought large quantities of to- 
bacco to the English from their houses. Whether 
tobacco was proferred to the Englishmen as fan- 
cied liberators, or whether the English demanded 
the local stores in the best traditions of sixteenth- 
century piracy, Drake does not state. 

On his return voyage to Britain, Drake put in at 
Roanoke Island, North Carolina, and picked up the 
survivors of an English settlement established there 
in 1584. Among the refugees from hunger and In- 
dian hostilities was the surveyor-historian Thomas 
Hariot. In his "briefe and true report of the new 
Found land of Virginia: of the commodities there 
:ound and to be raised, as well marchantable, as 

Sir Francis Drake also specialized in plundering 
the Spanish Main. In 1600 he recorded the trading 
of iron tools for tobacco on the island of Haiti. 

others for victuall, etc." Hariot included tobacco: 

There is an herb called uppowoc, which sows 
itself. In the West Indies it has several names, 
according to the different places where it grows 
and is used, but the Spaniards generally call it 
tobacco. Its leaves are dried, made into powder, 
and then smoked by being sucked through clay 
pipes into the stomach and head . . . 
While we were there we used to suck in the 
smoke as they did, and now that we are back in 
England we still do. We have found many rare 
and wonderful proofs of the uppowoc's virtues, 
which would themselves require a volume to 
relate. There is sufficient evidence in the fact that 
it is used by so many men and women of great 
calling, as well as by some learned physicians. 

If Hawkins and his crew had not been the first to 
puff pipes in England, Hariot and his fellow-adven- 
turers certainly would have been. But the evidence 
points to Hawkins. A book published in England 
in 1570' declared that 

You see many sailors, and all those who come 
back from America, carrying little funnels made 
from a palm leaf or a reed in the extreme end 
of which they insert the rolled and powdered 
leaves of this plant. 

This was the herbal written by Matthias de 

L'Obel, a citizen of the Low Countries who encour- 


aged high consumption of "Nicosiana Sanasancta." 
First published in English, de L'Obel's work in- 
cluded the first accurate picture of the tobacco 
plant. However, the illustration — widely used by 
other scholarly writers — also showed a savage 
smoking what seems to be a three-foot cornucopia. 
This picture ( page 40 ) is somewhat less than accu- 
rate; judging by the text, de L'Obel was attempting 
to describe the rolled cigar and the tube pipe as a 
single form. Be that as it may, de L'Obel confirmed 
the fact that tobacco smoking had come to be prac- 
tised in England by "many sailors." 

Well before Drake's 1585 sally to the West Indies, 

tobacco had come to be valued by the English for 
personal use if not for resale in Britain. But Hariot, 
or Roanoke's governor Ralph Lane, or one of the 
Roanoke explorers — Captain Philip Amadas and 
Captain Arthur Barlowe — certainly brought Caro- 
lina seed to their sponsor, Sir Walter Raleigh. These 
were planted by Raleigh on his Ireland estate, but 
in spite of his efforts Sir Walter was unable to con- 
vert the English tabackians to the rank Nicotiana 
rustica when Spanish leaf was available. 

Drake returned to Dominica some years later, 
and the log of his 1600 voyage describes his deal- 
ings with the natives: 

After defeating the Spanish Armada, Britain sent a triumphal attack on Guiana in 1595 and observed 
her privateers to burn and pillage Spain's ports the traffic in Trinidad tobacco. But the English 
of trade in the New World. SirW alter Baleigh made wanted to seize gold, not to enter the leaf trade. 


The Roaring GirL 


As ithathlately beene Adcd on the Foitune-fiageby 

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Writt ea by T. UMhMUton and T. Deh^ar. 



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Printed at London for Thomas Jrcher.iad are to be fold At his 
fhop in Popes head paUace,neere the Royall 
Exchange. 1611. 

Sir Walter Raleigh popularized pipe-smoking at the 
English court. "Tobagies" multiplied, and demand 
for Spanish leaf soon exceeded the limited supply. 

By 1611, when this title-page for a play pictured 
a smoker, tobacco was a prominent feature of life 
in England, which had become a major leaf market. 

Then we stood for Dominica, an Island full of 
inhabitants of the race of the Canibals. ... in it 
groweth great store of Tabacco: where most of 
our English and French men barter knives, hatch- 
ets, sawes, and such like iron tools in truck of 

After the Spanish Armada was defeated, English 
captains penetrated Spanish waters almost at will. 
Sir Robert Dudley landed in Trinidad, Venezuela, 
Puerto Rico and Bermuda in the course of his 1594- 
95 expedition, and his written account shows that 
he was quite tobacco-conscious. He traded for to- 
bacco in Trinidad, referred to the coast of Caracas 
as "one of the fruitfullest places in the world for 
excellent good tobacco," and added that "in the 
high land of Paria I was informed by divers of these 

Indians, that there was . . . great store of most excel- 
lent Cane-tobacco." Sir Walter Raleigh made a tri- 
umphant journey to Guiana in 1595 and described 
the Tiuitiuas at the mouth of the river Orinoco: 
They make the most and fairest houses, and sell 
them into Guiana for golde, and into Treinedado 
for Tobacco, in the excessive taking wereof, they 
exceed all nations . . . 
Despite this direct allusion to the worth of tobacco 
in terms of gold, Raleigh and the English generally 
were still content to buy their leaf at home from the 
Spaniards. Their hearts were then set, not on build- 
ing up a lucrative commodity trade, but on finding 
El Dorado and his golden treasure before the 
Spanish did. In this respect the English of the 
1590s were in the same state of mind as the Spanish 


of the 1520s — they saw tobacco as a picturesque 
custom, a native oddity. Raleigh's Guiana voyage 
was followed up the very next year by his lieuten- 
ant, Lawrence Keymis, who described a parley 
with some Orinoco chiefs in these words: 

Thus they sit talking, and taking Tobacco some 
two hours, and until their pipes be all spent ( for 
by them they measure the time of this their 
solemn conference) no man must interrupt... 
for this is their religion . . . 

Keymis was still engaged in the wild gold chase 
for El Dorado, and the emergence of England as 
the dominant tobacco trader had to wait for that 
fever to cool. 

Eager Europe 

The potential of tobacco as a consumer's good 
was appreciated by the trade-conscious Dutch very 
soon after the Portuguese and Spanish staked out 

In 1642 Pope Urban VIII prohibited the taking of 
tobacco in churches, the custom having gained so 
strong a hold, "yea; even on priests and clerics." 

their plantations in the New World. Educated in 
France and writing in Antwerp, Matthias de L'Obel 
observed in 1571 that the mariners in the West 
Indies trade smoked enthusiastically "since they 
attribute to it the power of allaying hunger and 
thirst, exhilirating the spirits and renovating the 
animal powers." Perhaps de L'Obel read too much 
into the simple fact that sailors smoked for pleasure, 
but he had the wit to grasp the leaf's non-medicinal 
significance and to encourage its cultivation in the 
Low Countries. The Dutch took to the leaf more 
quickly than the English, despite the straw-like 
character of the tobacco grown in their own fields. 
For centuries they consumed more leaf per head 
than either England or Germany, although they 
constituted a smaller market. "The pipe," wrote 
Washington Irving, "is never out of the mouth of 
the true-born Nederlander." 

Wrote a German ambassador to the Hague in 

I cannot refrain from a few words of protest 
against the astounding fashion lately introduced 
from America — a sort of smoke-tippling, one 
might call it, which enslaves its victims more 
completely than any other form of intoxication, 
old or new. These madmen will swallow and 
inhale with incredible eagerness the smoke of a 
plant they call Herba Nicotiana, or tobacco. 

Even as this was written, tobacco cultivation had 
crossed the Rhine, and smoking was spreading 
through Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Hun- 
gary, Sweden, Poland, Russia and Turkey. Princes 
and pontiffs, alarmed respectively by fires resulting 
from careless smoking and by the origin of tobacco 
among heathen savages, laid down prohibitions. 
But both royalty and clergy soon grew to enjoy the 
bewitching vegetable. In 1642 a Papal Bull issued 
by Urban VIII noted that "the use of the herb com- 
monly called tobacco has gained so strong a hold 
on persons of both sexes, yea, even priests and 
clerics" that it behooved the Pope to prohibit its 
use in churches. During the next 20 years or so, 
most of the princes gave the new custom their 
approval. Like James I of England, they became 
aware of the revenues to be had from taxes on con- 
sumption and from the sale of growing, manufac- 
turing, and trading rights. The rapid expansion of 
this European market was to prove crucial to the 
survival of the first American colonies. 

There was one interesting difference between 


tobacco's introduction on the continent and its rise 
in England. Nicot had sent the plant to the French 
court as a specific; it was adopted by Europe doubt- 
less because of its pleasurable utility, but under the 
guise of medicine and with the endorsement of the 
physicians. There was no such endorsement of any 
consequence in England. Raleigh, and the sailors 
who preceded him, puffed their pipes for personal 
solace. This was a result of the late arrival of Britons 
generally in the New World; by the time Spain's 
dominion over the western seas was broken tobacco 
was no longer a barbarous custom of the naked 
heathen, but a going commodity among the white 
settlers of America. 

From palm leaf to pipe 

Out of the early seaborne traffic in leaf emerges 
a curious but distinctive fact about tobacco: the 
taste for it is not invariably "ritualistic" nor con- 

fined to a particular form of use. Rather, the mode 
of consumption is flexible and influenced by culture 
and environment, which are themselves always 
changing. But shifting fashions in smoking do not 
seem to affect the essential object of the taste, the 
tobacco. In the Spanish West Indies the cigar or 
the palm-wrapped cigarette was the preferred form 
of consumption, not only among the Indians but 
among the whites and Negroes who took to smok- 
ing. Outside Cuba, however, the cigar was retarded 
by the lack of skilled rollers and by the fact that 
it was unsuitable for smoking outdoors in raw 
weather. This last affected most of all the habits of 
the Spanish sailors, who took up chewing with 
equal relish. Yet their principal customers in Eng- 
land, Holland and Germany were almost exclu- 
sively pipe smokers. Perhaps the North Europeans 
were initially conditioned to the pipe by the harsh- 
ness of the leaf they grew at home; perhaps the leaf 

During the early 1600s tobacco was being grown in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Sweden 
the Rhine valley, although its hay-like character and Russia took up smoking; this European market 
required that it be blended with American tobacco, enabled the Chesapeake settlements to survive. 


Botanical sketch of tobacco 
appeared in many herbals of 
Europe from 1570 on. Smoking 
apparatus at right confused 
the spiral-wrapped cigar with 
the funnel-like tubular pipe. 
But the print confirmed role 
of sailors in spreading leaf. 
Caption read: "N.icotiana is 
packed into a fundibulum, a 
sort of tube used by Indians 
and by sailors when smoking." 

that reached them from the Spanish Main — often 
transshipped in French or Flemish bottoms — was 
only relatively milder than their own, but not the 
choice tobacco that the directness of cigar smoking 
requires. Though both factors may have operated, 
it is certain that climate also played an important 
part. A given smoker can enjoy many more cigars 
per day in Havana than he can in wintertime New 
York or London. The southern smoker tends to like 
his roll sweet, the northern smoker straight or 
lightly flavored. The difference is obvious today to 
a student of brand preferences in cigarettes — in 
Cuba, they are heavy with molasses; in the Amer- 
ican South, the sweetest, most heavily "cased" 
brands are best liked; in the temperate latitudes, 
moderately flavored or lightly flavored blends are 
most popular; and in the British Isles, straight Vir- 
ginia with no sweetening at all is the ideal. 

Shillings for Spanish 

By sixteenth century standards, the British mar- 
ket for tobacco was an eager and growing one. Both 
Spencer and Ben Jonson mentioned the custom of 
smoking in their works before the century was out, 

and visitors to Britain wrote that the English were 
constantly smoking at bull-baiting, at bear-whip- 
ping, in the courtroom, and everywhere else. Some 
taverns were called "tobagies," as others were 
called alehouses or coffeehouses. In 1599 a pound 
of Cuban tobacco was said to have sold for $125 in 
London. Violent price fluctuations around the turn 
of the century — a pound of leaf ranging from 2 
shillings to 90 shillings over a 22-year span — evi- 
denced the inability of supply to keep up with 
demand. Wrote Thomas Platter in 1605: 

In the taverns tobacco or heathen wound plant 
is provided, which everyone gets for a penny . . . 
at plays, inns or at any place they light up and 
drink. . . . The plant is brought in great quanti- 
ties from the Indies and one kind is stronger than 
the other, as one can tell by the tongue. 

That same year a pamphleteer advised that tobacco 
be grown at home so that England would not have 
to pay 200,000 pounds sterling a year to the rival 
Spanish colonists. (At an average of 30 shillings 
per pound, this suggests a consumption of 130,000 
pounds of leaf.) However the English soil and 
climate proved more suitable for raising Nicotiana 
rustica than Nicotiana tabacum, and the Spanish 


continued to sell thousands of pounds of the pre- 
ferred kind to Britain — with and without benefit 
of duty — until the middle of the seventeenth cen- 
tury. Owing to the undependable supply and to 
mounting taxes, counterfeit and adulterated tobacco 
became common in England, which made "Spanish 
tobacco" all the more highly prized. In fact, the 
adjective "Spanish" denoted tobacco of the highest 
quality in Britain and the U. S. until about 1860. 

Foundation: "Smoak" 

In the last analysis, the survival of the first Eng- 
lish Colonies stemmed from the early trading zest 
of the Spaniards. Despite the vicious sea war with 
the English that raged from 1558 to 1604, the Span- 
ish sailors bearded the lion in his den by pressing 
their tobacco trade through the South Coast ports 
and smugglers' coves. Thereby, they opened up the 

world's greatest market for imported tobacco 
( which Britain remains to this day ) , and it was this 
market, along with its European offshoots, that was 
to sustain the economy of the American Colonies 
during their first two centuries of existence. 

For Britain to shake off Spain as her tobacconist 
and put down her own tobacco roots in the New 
World, required the fierce economic imperialism 
generated under the Virgin Queen for whom Vir- 
ginia is named. How this imperialism was to oper- 
ate for three full centuries is illustrated by the 
episode of Drake standing for Dominica to barter 
hatchets and saws "in trucke of Tabacco." His 
exchange — manufactured goods for raw stuffs not 
available at home — was to be the formula and 
foundation of the British Empire, as it was to be 
the formula for the Chesapeake colonies "founded 
upon smoak." 

Then as now the best Spanish American tobacco was Although Englishmen bitterly fought Spaniards on 

grown in Cuba's western tip. Except for telephone the high seas, they continued to pay high prices 

poles and wires at left, the lush vegas of Cuba's for Spanish tobacco at home, smuggling the leaf 

Vuelta Abajo today look much the same as in 1600. into the coves of Cornwall to evade the duties. 


Desperate for the means to trade for supplies in 
England, Jamestowners tried tobacco. Virginia and 
Maryland leaf soon passed Spanish in the European 
markets and supported the Chesapeake colonies for 
nearly two centuries. The tidewater planters were, 
in effect, field hands to His Majesty; there was no 
improvement in the leaf, no local manufacture. 


In recent years the intensity of competition 
among manufacturers has overshadowed compe- 
tition among growers. But competition for leaf 
markets was the dominant aspect of the tobacco 
industry throughout the sixteenth, seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries. It was a knowledge of this, 
and an awareness of the "two kinds" of tobacco, 
that prompted the desperate John Rolfe to grow a 
new strain in the Virginia tidewater in 1612. As 
often happens in and out of the tobacco industry, 
desperation may succeed when nothing else can. 
Rolfe and his wife had left England for the 
Jamestown colony in 1609. They were shipwrecked 
on Bermuda, where their first child was born and 
died. In the spring of 1610 they reached Jamestown 
to find only a few dozen gaunt survivors of a har- 
rowing winter that became known as the "Starv- 
ing Time." During the next two years Rolfe, a man 
of twenty-five sobered by tragedy, tried to grow a 
smokable leaf from the strain cultivated by the 
Virginia Indians, the small-leaved Nicotiana rus- 
tica. But the native tobacco could be appreciated 
only by the natives; the settlers found it "poor and 
weak and of a biting taste." In the midst of his 
experiments, his wife also died. 

It is not recorded how Rolfe came by seed of the 
large-leaved Spanish tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), 
but he had the enterprise to plant a crop in 1612 
and ship a small quantity to England in 1613. 
This may have been his last cast of the dice, but it 
was a natural. Two years later, Virginia was sup- 
plying to London one poimd of tobacco for every 
twenty supplied by the Spanish; by 1619, the Vir- 
ginia staple exceeded the Spanish product on the 
London market; and in 1620 Virginia exports ex- 
actly doubled the 1619 quantity. 

James Towne 

Rolfe's contribution is best appreciated against 
the background of the Jamestown settlement. In 
its first decade, this was no tidy transplant of the 
English countryside to sunny, green glades and 
abundant harvests. Jamestown was a pestiferous 
mantrap on a swampy island, comparable in bodily 
misery to the Black Hole of Calcutta and the con- 
centration camps of Nazi Germany. Of 1,000 souls 
poured into the colony in its first four years, 800 
died. Starvation went so far that one settler killed, 
salted and ate his wife. Until Rolfe's crop found its 
market, human folly ran wild. Two thirds of the 


early arrivals were persons of "qualitie," who ex- 
pected the other third to provide for their wants. 
The first leaders were a succession of incompetents 
who never managed to get a food crop planted, 
stole from and murdered the friendly Indians who 
were almost their sole supply of food, roamed the 
tidewater tributaries looking for the "Back Sea" 
that washed the East Indies, and filled the holds of 
their tiny supply ships with yellow earth— "fool's 
gold"— to be assayed for gold content in Britain. 
Several of the early commanders deserted the 
dying colonists, taking needed ships with them. 

Amidst all the suffering there was no thought of 
emulating the Spanish colonies and turning the 
rich earth to a profit. The adventurers who first 
crossed on the 100-ton Susan Constant, the 40-ton 
Goodspeed and the 20-ton Discovery— 105 reckless 
souls— were certainly aware of the tobacco trade. 
Their little fleet had made its landfall in the West 
Indies near Dominica, "a very faire Hand full of 
sweet and good smells" including, at that time, the 
scent of tobacco. Furthermore, survivors of the 
"Lost Colony" of Roanoke Island had indicated in 
words and pictures how the native Indians of that 
region grew tobacco. 

Like the early Spaniards, however, the first 
Jamestowners came to the New World not to make 
a living but to make a killing. They envisioned the 
natives as Aztecs ripe for plucking, and looked for- 
ward to looting jewel-encrusted chamber pots 
made of solid gold. Thus, two-thirds of them saw 
no reason why they should not continue to write 
"Gent" after their names, signifying that they were 
above manual labor. They were, after all, investors 
in the Virginia Company to the extent of twelve 
and a half pounds sterling apiece. 

Unfortunately the other third— who crossed the 
Atlantic on credit and worked off their passage by 
five or six years of indentured labor— had even less 
incentive for hard work. The terms of their inden- 
tures kept them in a kind of communistic slavery. 
For their labor they were to receive only suste- 
nance from the common harvest; what they pro- 
duced they had to share on an equal basis with 
everyone else. It was no wonder that Marshall 
Thomas Dale found no corn crop planted when he 
arrived in May of 1611. 

It required the no-nonsense hand of Dale, a vet- 
eran mercenary soldier, to break up this fool's para- 
dise. He organized work gangs to till the soil, build 


Financed by the Virginia Company of London, with were 105 adventurers; 66 died within five months. 

New World gold the objective, the Susan Constant By 1611 1,000 settlers had come and 800 had died, 

and two smaller ships reached the James River in This 1957 replica of the Constant was built for 

1607 after a six-month trip. In the three vessels the celebration of Jamestown's 350th anniversary. 

barns and a wharf, and dig new wells. With a keen 
awareness of human nature, he granted a hundred 
acres of land to each man after he worked out of 
bondage. Toughened by the European wars, Dale 
played his role of soldier to the hilt. He not only 
took the law into his own hands, but declared it to 
be martial law. Commandeering a visiting British 
warship of fourteen guns, he sailed it up the James 
to "requisition" corn from the Indians and on the 
same expedition kidnapped Powhatan's 18-year- 
old daughter Pocahontas. 

One thing Dale could not order was the ship- 
ment of supplies and reinforcements from England. 
Organized with the expectation of immediate 
wealth, the Virginia Company was growing more 

and more reluctant to throw good money after bad. 
While the Jamestowners were shriveling from 
starvation and dying of malaria on their dank 
island, shipments of supplies were delayed for 
weeks and months in England. And even under 
military rule, it would take time to convert James- 
town from a crazy communism of lazy desperadoes 
and sullen serfs to a self-supporting colony of ener- 
getic farmers. It would take time for John Rolfe to 
recover from his personal losses and develop the 
merchantable commodity England expected. 


This time was granted by Powhatan, a 70-year- 
old chief of chiefs who comes closest to the roman- 


Powhatan's lodge was the "long house" typical of 
many eastern forest tribes. These Algonquin people 
had progressed beyond the hunting-gathering stage, 
lived in more or less permanent villages forming a 

well-ordered society. They cultivated corn, beans 
andtobaccoandmaintainedcommunity storehouses. 
This modern replica was also built to mark the 
350th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. 

tic notion of the American Indian as a "noble 

Secure in the esteem of his own people, aware of 
the perfidiousness of the desperate English (John 
Smith plotted to murder him and make off with his 
corn store ) , Powhatan not only refrained from wip- 
ing out the Jamestowners but supplied them with 
venison, fowl, squirrels, fish and corn. When the 
English kidnapped his daughter Pocahontas, he 
sent the demanded ransom but wisely decided not 
to enter Jamestown himself. True to form, the Eng- 
lish then increased the ransom. Meanwhile Sir 
Thomas Dale persuaded the captive Pocahontas to 
renounce her heathen faith and accept Christian 
baptism, along with the name Rebecca, and took 

her upriver in an attempt to worm another ship- 
load of corn out of Powhatan. 


Perhaps Rolfe sensed that something had to be 
done to end such comic-opera intrigues before the 
Indians ended the whole show. At any event, he 
asked Dale for permission to marry Pocahontas 
"for the good of this Plantation." It seems doubtful 
that Rolfe's was a grand passion, for Pocahontas— 
called "Little Wanton" by her own people— was 
not unknown to the Englishmen, having once cart- 
wheeled through their little settlement in a spirit 
of youthful play. Furthermore, Little Wanton had 
married a young brave of her own tribe four years 



First picture of American tobacco farming resulted Secota in the North Carolina tidewater. (E) marks 
from Walter Raleigh's unsuccessful effort to settle a tobacco field. The other crops were pumpkins (I) 
Roanoke Island in 1585. It depicts the village of and corn (H,G). Shed at (F) holds a field sentinel. 


earlier. But Rolfe's request led Dale to withdraw 
the troops and give over the savage pawn to be his 
bride in April, 1614. 

So Rolfe crowned his economic success with a 
diplomatic one by marrying Pocahontas, daughter 
of the chief of chiefs, Powhatan. Peace with the 
Virginia Indians was assured for a time, as were 
continued payments on Little Wanton's dowry- 
foodstuffs for the still famished English. In 1616 he 
took his bride in triumph to London— *was this a 
promotional stunt for tobacco?— where she died. 
When Rolfe returned to Jamestown, tobacco was 
literally growing in the streets. 

The deare bought kind 

Rolfe's switch to Latin American seed was not a 
lucky accident, for he knew of the "two kinds" of 
tobacco, and described the kind "known to be verie 
vendible in England," i.e., the large-leaved Span- 
ish. He was, before going to Jamestown, a con- 
firmed pipe smoker. The 1597 herbal of John 
Gerard has a section on "yellow Henbane, or Eng- 
lish tobacco . . . brought from Trinidada, as also 
from Virginia." Gerard thought Indian tobacco 
was best for Indians and that "being now planted 
in the gardens of England . . . better for the consti- 
tution of our bodies." It is quite possible that 
Rolfe's fruitless experimentation with Nicotiana 
rustica was based on some such notion, along with 
the practical consideration that the coarser plant 
was then being grown in England. On the other 
hand, Gerard himself recognized that "our Taback- 
ians" preferred the "far fetcht and deare bought" 
kind to the rustica. 

The new strain, as the reaction of the London 
market showed, was infinitely superior to the native 
North American tobacco. In the trade it was de- 
scribed as "Trynidado" or "Oronoko" leaf— the kind 
Englishmen meant when they referred to Spanish 
tobacco. Yet Rolfe's crop was a far cry from the 
leaf we know today. Planted on the rich, moist bot- 
tom lands of the tidewater, it was heavy and 
strong: today it would be classed as "shipping leaf" 
—this being a euphemism for tobacco not suitable 
for U. S. forms of consumption. Rolfe's dark air- 
cured product, in the years before blending, before 
flue-curing, before slow aging and humidity con- 
trol, would resemble the coarsest, darkest type of 
chewing tobacco seen today. 

Powhatan was the most powerful Indian chieftain 
in the Chesapeake area. Despite settlers' efforts to 
murder him, he kept them alive with corn and meat. 

The wisest fool in Christendom 

Nevertheless, it found acceptance in an England 
accustomed to the best that the Spanish possessions 
—Santo Domingo, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Cuba- 
could ship. And it won this acceptance in the midst 
of the first great tobacco controversy. In 1604 the 
king himself, James I, issued a "Counterblaste to 
Tobacco" in which he characterized whiffing as a 
"vile and stinking custome" and discouraged his 
subjects from imitating the "barbarous and beastly 
manners of the wild, Godless and slavish Indians." 
At the same time the dour Scotch Monarch im- 
posed a duty of six shillings eight pence over and 
above the two-penny tax then existing— from two 
to two-and-eighty pence in one swoop, an increase 
of 4,000%. Later he restricted tobacco-selling to 
persons holding royal warrants ( which were rented 
for a yearly stipend). He also sold concessions for 
pipe making and pipe selling, fully justifying his 
reputation as "the wisest fool in Christendom." 


Iron-handed Thomas Dale, Jamestown's Marshal, 
had Pocahontas kidnapped and held for ransom. 
With the colony's secretary, Ralph Hamor, Dale 
voyaged up the York to demand corn from Opechan- 

cano, uncle of Pocahontas (above). War was averted 
when Pocahontas married John Rolfe, but ten years 
later, after both she and her father Powhatan were 
dead, Opechancano massacred 349 of 1,200 colonists. 

Almost from the first, leaf quality was a prime 
objective (apart from the intrinsic superiority of 
"Spanish" seeded tobacco over the indigenous 
North American variety). One reason was the 
swindling and adulteration that characterized the 
earliest years in England when tobacco com- 
manded its weight in silver. Before the sixteenth 
century was over, protests were voiced in London 
against the apothecaries who mixed genuine leaf 
with worthless vegetable stuffs. The Spanish, too, 
were accused of "sophisticating" their leaf with the 
filth of sugar (molasses), pepper, wine lees, honey, 
and berry juice and of secreting rotten and with- 
ered leaf under good. This last, not unknown even 
today, came to be described as "nesting." In 1619 
James I decreed inspection of all leaf ( and sold the 

concessions ) , a decree to which no more attention 
was paid than to most of his ukases. British mer- 
chants awoke to the potential profits in re-exported 
leaf, and this gave further impetus to the practice 
of adulteration with starch, oil, coal dust or sweep- 
ings for the home market. As the Virginia plant- 
ers extended their acreage, their English customers 
were becoming more and more guarded in their 
purchases, and a planter's reputation for quality was 
a valuable asset. A new curing method— hanging the 
leaves on sticks for an "air cure"— replaced fermen- 
tation in heaps, and this not only improved the 
final product but reduced spoilage. In 1619 — the 
sixth year of the Chesapeake trade — the Virginia 
House of Burgesses banned second-growth tobacco, 
ordered the trashy grades destroyed, and initiated 


an inspection system. There were, to be sure, nu- 
merous evasions. Not until a century later could the 
inspection system be described as generally effec- 
tive. But the immediate effect was to bring Ameri- 
can shipping leaf to a standard which was competi- 
tive with, if not equal to, the West Indian "Span- 
ish." Ultimately— that is, after two and a half cen- 
turies — quality-consciousness was to create U. S. 
leaf grades superior to all others for the light 
smokes (pipe and cigarette); the old Spanish pos- 
sessions still grow the best tobacco for the heavy 
smoke (cigar). 

The Jamestowners were helped in the very first 
years of their leaf trade by a commercial mistake 
on the part of Spain. In 1614, just before Virginia 
tobacco became a factor in the world market, the 
Spanish king ordered that all export tobacco from 
his colonies was to be shipped to Seville under pen- 
alty of death. This drastic step was intended ( 1 ) to 
diversify the agriculture of Spain's possessions and 
(2) to protect the product against the market glut 
occasioned from time to time by overplanting. One 
result of this was to make Seville a repository for 
the choicest tobaccos grown in the New World, and 
thus a famous cigar manufacturing city. But it put 
a crimp in the Spaniards' freedom of trade (even 
though it did not stop global smuggling) just as a 
hungry rival was entering competition for the Eng- 
lish and European trade. 

Spark of freedom 

Given the chance, the Virginia colonists might 
have achieved economic independence— and per- 
haps political independence — much sooner than 
they did. In 1621 they tried to take advantage of 
Spain's Seville bottleneck by entering the European 
market on their own. Even then, in the fourteenth 
year of the first permanent settlement, they struck 
off a fitful spark of freedom. Appropriately, it was 
John Rolfe who made the first of many protests 
against the Crown's ruthless colonial policy; in his 
petition for free trade appear the first stirrings of 
the drive for liberty that would create a new nation 
160 years later. He requested that 

our ancient liberty be restored or otherwise to 
send for us all home and not suffer the heathen 
to triumph over us. 

The moribund Virginia Company, a financial dis- 
appointment from its founding, was afraid to risk 

a head-on clash with the king and withheld Rolfe's 
petition. Instead it pursued a bypass policy as a 
last resort: all of the 1621 crop was sent to Holland 
and paid no British tariff. 

But the British had no intention of letting their 
overseas offspring become a well-to-do orphan. 
After four years of proposals and debates in Parlia- 
ment, the Crown declared tobacco a royal monop- 
oly and clamped a tight hand on Virginia leaf. In 
order to maximize his revenue therefrom James de- 
creed (1) an end to tobacco-growing in England 
proper, (2) an end to tobacco trading with Spain 
and ( 3 ) that all American tobacco be landed in the 
city of London. None of these rulings was wholly 
effective, but they provided an umbrella of pro- 
tectionism under which the traffic in Virginia leaf 
continued to increase. They also rendered the 
Jamestowners completely dependent on the Lon- 
don leaf merchants : free enterprise was to be a long 
time in coming. 

Vat *~ -/"</> /" P /^ /T *> f ( i) ■ 

L Un/cn/'S a/S -/leorcAa li/uia'tter te tt/r nno/its' l/iiiirc 

I J,'w/uitan limptirtir of ^Itlaricut/-/ l-jy/teii d! i'/ir vtrr/iiiirt 

. tl'lit 

criivrrtrrf (met tir'/iti^rt //] ///,■ C/"'M ////// fftlf!', 

w/f /,■ tTu nvir t _ \r:'</c/, :/\ ,'-r. 

Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas waskidnapped and 
held for ransom by Jamestowners. She married John 
Rolfe, bringing about a temporary state of peace. 


Tobacco five to one 

The idea of diversified crops, which worried the 
Spanish into the fatal error of too much planning, 
was intermittently bothersome to the Virginia 
tobaccomen. In the early years of Jamestown Sir 
Thomas Dale required each tobacco farmer to 
raise corn as well. (Like most of the solemn pre- 
scriptions about tobacco laid down by captains, 
kings and savants, this decree was ignored.) The 
Virginia Company itself subsidized fishing, lum- 
bering, shipbuilding, iron and glass manufacture 
from 1608 onward, but in 1621 the practice of rais- 
ing funds by lottery was ended and the Company 
itself died from financial malnutrition, along with 
the ambitious enterprises it had encouraged. At 
that stage there was no economic advantage in di- 
versifying away from tobacco cultivation. Captain 
John Smith estimated that a man's labor in raising 
tobacco was worth fifty pounds sterling a year, as 
against ten pounds in raising corn. Tobacco re- 
quired less cleared ground, and less shipping space, 
than any other crop. These economic facts of life 
were recognized in England by the year 1624, when 
Virginia was given its monopoly on exports to the 
mother country and all foreign trade in tobacco 

prohibited. Tidewater tobacco burgeoned. In 1628, 
under Charles I, the planters shipped 500,000 
pounds; in 1638, 1,400,000 pounds. This was a clas- 
sic example of the system of colonial specialization 
which eventually made Britain the wealthiest na- 
tion in the world. 

Calverts, cod and conscience 

If tobacco was the saving of Virginia, it was no 
less the support of Maryland. A "great man" of the 
Elizabethan era, somewhat junior to Raleigh in age 
but an adventurer of equal vision, plays a large part 
here. After twenty years of high public office in 
England proper, George Calvert was made Lord 
Baltimore by a grateful James I in 1625 (his barony 
of Baltimore was in Ireland). Five years before, 
Calvert had bought part of Newfoundland Island 
and established a settlement there, but by 1629 he 
decided that— notwithstanding the run of codfish 
in that part of the New World— the rigorous climate 
and the hostility of the French had rendered his 
colony of "Avalonia" a failure. Eschewing the cod, 
he asked a grant of land for himself and forty 
Avalonians on the Chesapeake so that he "might 
do the King and my Country more service there by. 

When Rolfe returned to Jamestown, the tobacco 
crop he had started had spread even into the streets 
of that tiny island town. Leaf supported the colony. 

This was not the native Indian tobacco, which did 
not sell in England, but a mild strain grown from 
Latin American seedthat produced Spanish tobacco. 


planting of Tobacco." By 1632, when the Maryland 
charter was passed, the first Lord Baltimore was 
dead. His eldest son, Cecil, became the second 
Lord Baltimore and another son, Leonard, became 
the first Governor of Maryland. Actual colonization 
of what is now the Old Line State began in 1634, 
and George Calvert's vision of tobacco fields was 
soon realized by his sons. From the first, Maryland 
showed an independence of thought and act that 
went beyond anything seen in the other settle- 
ments. (Maryland was not technically a Crown 
colony but a palatinate, the Calverts enjoying royal 
prerogatives of their own. ) Unlike John Smith and 
Thomas Dale, the Calverts did not use strong-arm 
tactics in dealing with the Indians — they bought 
needed land from the natives instead of appropriat- 
ing it. Unlike Virginia, Maryland completely di- 
vorced church and state and welcomed all faiths. 
This "security of conscience" principle extended to 
economics as well; time and again Maryland re- 
fused to follow Virginia's lead as to tobacco inspec- 
tion, crop control, and hogshead size, even where 
it would have been in mutual interest to have done 
so. During the colonial period there was no appre- 
ciable difference between Maryland leaf and the 
Oronoko grown in Virginia: both were known in 
Europe as "Virginia tobacco," a term still used. 
During the last century, Maryland tobacco has 
emerged as a unique variety, soft brown in color, 
easily distinguished from the lemon-yellow Bright 
leaf which is the big tobacco crop of Virginia, the 
Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. 

Clouds over Europe 

British mercantilism was based on a rigid impe- 
rial monopoly of trade with the colonies, a monop- 
oly which included the means of transport as well 
as the source of raw supplies. To protect the inter- 
ests of the Virginia Company (and to check the 
drain on Britain's silver reserve caused by pur- 
chases of Spanish tobacco), Spain's leaf after 1631 
paid a duty of two shillings ( then worth about $5 ) 
per pound as against the ninepence ($1.90) paid 
by Virginia leaf. Thirty years later the differential 
was ten shillings against one shilling eightpence. 

The Spanish trade had no sooner been doomed to 
extinction than the doughty Hollanders had to be 
put down. The Dutch fleet rivaled the English dur- 
ing most of the seventeenth century, and secured a 

George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, could not make a 
success of his Newfoundland settlement, asked for 
Maryland grant so that he "might do the King and my 
country more service there by planting Tobacco." 

good share of the Virginia-Maryland carrying 
trade in its early phase. The British acted quite di- 
rectly, commandeering Dutch merchantmen laden 

Unlike Virginians, Marylanders avoided strong-arm 
tactics, bought the land they needed from Indians 
instead of appropriating it in the name of James. 


Chesapeake waters had 4,600 miles of shoreline, a bottomland was cured near water's edge and rolled 
great advantage. Deep-water ships could be moored only a short distance to the docks. Cutting roads 
at plantation landings; leaf raised on tidewater through virgin forests was thus held to a minimum. 

with British colonial produce and, after the rivalry 
had burst into open warfare, seizing New Amster- 
dam to plug an important leak in the American 
leaf traffic. 

Great Water 

This trade, as yet, was very little influenced by 
manufacturing reputation. Neither "Havana ci- 
gars" nor "American cigarettes" had established 
their ascendancy. The trade was almost exclusively 
a leaf trade conducted, as originally, by sailors; 
hence convenient access by merchantmen was the 
most important asset of an agricultural area in that 
virtually roadless wilderness. The Chesapeake tide- 
water lapped at 4,600 miles of shoreline, including 
150 rivers and inlets which a deepwater bottom 
could navigate for distances up to 100 miles. (The 
Indian word, k'tchisipik, meant "Great Water.") 
Thousands of ocean vessels could find safe harbor 
in the 3000 square miles of sheltered Chesapeake 

Bay waters— more, certainly, than could be berthed 
in all the developed harbors of the Spanish West 

The flat coastal country surrounding the Chesa- 
peake was well laced with rivers and creeks suit- 
able for small "flats" and canoes. This was impor- 
tant; the number of plantations which could wharf 
ocean-going bottoms was necessarily limited, and 
overland transport was rough on tobacco. The 
stoutest hogshead could not take many miles along 
the rolling roads without losing some leaf and gain- 
ing some mud. Even the shallowest streams were 
made navigable for tobacco by the use of a cata- 
maran—two canoes in parallel supporting a plat- 
form between them on which were lashed half a 
dozen hogsheads. When the hogsheads were 
floated downriver to the ship landing, the platform 
could be dismantled and the canoes paddled back 
upriver singly. 

The risk of "ducked tobacco" on the rivers was no 


greater at first than the risk of piracy or spoilage on 
the high seas, and probably a good deal smaller: 
during the first fifty years of the American tobacco 
trade many a shipload was captured by flying 
Dutchmen. Some of the Dutch privateers actually 
entered the Chesapeake estuary to take or sink 
leaf-laden Virginiamen. Around 1690 the Crown 
awoke to the economic losses implicit in the sink- 
or-swim system and arranged for the tobacco ships 
to move in massed fleets convoyed by warships. 
During most of the eighteenth century this protec- 
tion was given almost exclusively to the Chesa- 
peake-England trade route, commerce with other 
British colonies being left pretty much to run its 
own gauntlet of Spanish and Dutch raiders. For 
the most part, it was effective. 

This special Crown protection meant that the 
potentialities of the tobacco trade were limited 
only by the extent of demand, and demand seemed 
limitless during the first two centuries of Virginia 
and Maryland settlement. Exports increased stead- 
ily from 1,400,000 pounds a year during the 1630s 
to 23,300,000 pounds in 1698. The latter amount 
included 1,300,000 pounds shipped to, of all places, 
Spain and Portugal. ( To add salt to the wound, the 
Virginians also carried on a profitable, though 
small, trade in tobacco with the Spanish West In- 
dies, without benefit of legal sanction. ) In the same 
year, 1698, the Spanish trade with England was 
just 27,000 pounds! 

As the seventeenth century drew to its close, the 
demand for tobacco in England was, if not stable, 
a regular and accepted part of British life. In 1665 
William Kemp blandly wrote 

The American silver-weed, or tobacco is ... an 
excellent defence against bad air, being smoked 
in a pipe, either by itself or with nutmeg shred 
... it is good to warm one being cold, and will 
cool one being hot. 

The crop itself had not changed since Rolfe de- 
scribed it as "strong, sweet, and pleasant as any 
under the sun"— a slight exaggeration except for 
the first adjective. An acre of Virginia bottomland 
yielded about 500 pounds, about enough to fill a 
single hogshead. The London merchants received 
something like five shillings a pound for it; the New 
World planters received about an eighth of that 
amount. For the small Virginia planter, tobacco 
was perforce a peripatetic occupation: after three 


$&% Virgin iaattfa/ 

Virginia tobacco did not equal Spanish in quality, 
but was given customs preference by British king. 
"Best Virginia" became the English staple and was 
well-advertised by hundreds of London trade signs. 

plantings the leaf yield visibly diminished, and 
fresh land was sought. This posed no particular 
problem for the "one-hogshead man"; tobacco cul- 
ture spread first along the James, then along the 
York, the Rappahannock and the Potomac. The 
price of leaf went down gradually— from five shill- 
ings to four shillings, one shilling, sixpence and, in 
the eighteenth century, to a penny or two a pound. 
Quantity being the only answer to depressed 
prices, tobacco leapfrogged up the rivers toward 
the fall line— the first "westward expansion." The 
fall line was, in fact, the first "frontier" of fur trad- 
ing and cattle grazing; Colonel William Byrd 
owned a fort near what is now Richmond during 
the seventeenth century. 

The tidewater planters did not have to curb pro- 
duction to the needs of England itself; their leaf 
was transshipped to the European continent in 


Tobacco catamaran— twin canoes with crossbeams— going ships, the platform between the two canoes 
was devised to move hogsheads down the shallowest was dismantled and they were paddled back up the 
creeks. Once the leaf had been loaded onto ocean- river singly. "Ducked tobacco" was not uncommon. 

ever-increasing volume— a practise encouraged by 
a "drawback" granted to English re-exporters of 
all but h'appeny of the import duty. The European 
market was sizable: in 1706, for example, Holland 
alone grew 20,000,000 pounds of leaf— almost as 
much as the colonial planters exported. However, 
the Netherlanders themselves described their leaf 
as having a "stinking, filthy" aroma. The sweet, 
bright Oronoco of the New World was needed to 
make the homegrown stuff palatable. Queen Anne's 
War (1702-13) cut off trade with France, Spain, 
Flanders and the Baltic. With ships by the score 
ferrying leaf from the tidewater, England was over- 
whelmed with it while Netherland and German 
farmers struggled to increase their output. Despite 

this long break the European market was not lost; 
demand for the mild "Oronoko" of Virginia and 
Maryland survived hostilities. In 1750 the tide- 
water planters shipped 72,000,000 pounds, of 
which 54,000,000 were re-exported to European 
nations; in 1775 of a total shipment of 100,000,000 
pounds, 90,000,000 was ultimately consumed on 
the continent. Now and again, this burgeoning 
trade received a setback— as when war closed the 
European ports to British merchantmen. However, 
so important had tobacco become to both France 
and Britain that the trade was carried on by mu- 
tual consent during the Anglo-French war of the 
1740s, British ships landing leaf at the French ports 
under a flag of truce. 

Extensive network of rivers and inlets throughout heavy riverboats like the above were used. Limits 
the Chesapeake tidewater enabled tobacco planting of leaf cultivation were determined almost wholly 
to spread inland. Where depth of stream permitted, by access to water, roads being few and primitive. 


The re-export of leaf tobacco from London to 
the continent was not entirely a boon to the Chesa- 
peake plantations. Spanish tobacco remained a 
competitive factor in the European trade, and the 
extra freight, handling, insurance and commission 
borne by Virginia leaf reduced by so much the 
price received by growers. A Maryland man calcu- 
lated that the loss to colonists on every hogshead 
resold in Europe was three pounds sterling. 

There were other disappointments. In 1698 Brit- 
ish diplomacy tried to open the Russian market to 
colonial leaf by setting up a factory with the under- 
standing that Virginia tobacco would be processed 
therein. However, the arrangement fizzled and 
later backfired. When the factory was built and 
operative, the Czar approved the use of Russian 
leaf, violating the agreement. And a few years later, 
the use of "English tobacco"— meaning Virginia- 
was prohibited outright in Russia. With Portugal 
and Spain supplying southern Europe, the tobacco 
grown in the tidewater, which under the Naviga- 
tion Acts of 1651 and 1660 could be shipped only 
in English vessels, was restricted to the countries of 
northern Europe: England, Holland, Germany, 
Scandinavia and France. 

Gray-land grades 

One of the most striking characteristics of Nico- 
tiana tahacum is that it is more true to the earth in 
which it grows than to the seed from which it 
springs. Seed tobacco from North Carolina, now 
the center of Bright tobacco, has been transplanted 
into Cuba in an effort to grow American cigarette 
grades on that island; in two seasons, the Carolina 
seed generates Cuban cigar leaf. Despite the devel- 
opment of new curing processes and new hybrid 
strains, the primary influence on the characteristics 
of the leaf is the soil and climate in which it 

This fact was demonstrated, and its significance 
largely overlooked, by the tidewater planters. 
Their trade with the Old World was built on "dark 
air-cured," a strong heavy leaf of the kind that rich 
bottom land produces. This was the type called 
"Oronoko" by the London merchants from its re- 
semblance to the rich product of the Orinoco River 
region. But very early in the development of the 
tidewater plantations — about 1650 — one Edward 
Digges cultivated a tract of land on the York River. 

Earliest English symbol of American tobacco was a 
black "Indian" with pipe and bunch of leaves. It 
appeared both as a three-dimensional show figure 
and on two-dimensional trade signs like this one. 

Digges Neck yielded a leaf much milder and more 
aromatic than the Oronoko, so much so that it was 
given its own name, "sweet-scented." This light leaf 
commanded a premium in England almost from its 
first appearance, and for more than a century hog- 
sheads labeled E. D. were highly prized. "E. Dees," 
in fact, came to be a synonym for the choicest 
grades of leaf, and "sweet-scented parishes" came 
to mean the wealthiest. The reason for the develop- 
ment of "sweet-scented"— the earliest form of Bright 
tobacco— was not some unique cure or hybridiza- 
tion but the soil of Digges Neck itself— sandy, light- 
colored loam visibly different from the dark bot- 
tomlands nearby. When the prosperous Digges ex- 
tended his plantation beyond the gray granitic belt, 
he applied the famous "E.D." mark to the new 
land's leaf and was reproved by his London agent, 
who advised him it was inferior and would ruin the 
"E. Dees" reputation. 

Oronoko wins 

The small proportion of sandy land in the tide- 
water kept sweet-scented to a small portion of the 
crop. Although British smokers favored the milder 
leaf, their tobacconists preferred to handle the 
common Oronoko— which came in at bargain prices 
during years of glut. Furthermore the continental 
markets, weaned on vile Nicotiana rustica of their 
own growing, were satisfied with the comparative 
pleasantness of Oronoko, and the overseas demand 


First of the tidewaters "great houses" was Green Berkeley. By levying harsh taxes on the colonists, 
Springs, built by luxury-loving governor, William collected in tobacco, Berkeley inspired rebellion. 

for sweet-scented was not great enough to force its 
development. This would have entailed the move- 
ment of tobacco culture away from the tidewater 
and into the piedmont, and here a further obstacle 
delayed such a movement for two centuries— the 
fall line. The abrupt waterfalls on all the tidewater 
tributaries, setting off the rocky foothills of the 
piedmont from the flats of tidewater, marked the 
upper limit of navigation. Since the tobacco trade 
was based on direct access to ocean-going ships, 
the fall line hemmed in the tobacco plantations 
during the early colonial period. 

However, this was no safeguard against overpro- 
duction. With much of the tidewater country given 
over to closely-spaced tobacco stalks, it required 
only forty years before the London warehouses 
were choked with leaf. Prices dropped, planters 
grew desperate. In 1639, half the crop was burned 
in order to reduce the total to the 1630 level of 
1,500,000 pounds. This gave only temporary relief. 
As the surplus reappeared, individual planters 
packed their hogsheads with trash tobacco in an 

effort to increase volume and compensate for the 
low prices. This was an outright abandonment of 
any pretense to quality, and the planters paid heav- 
ily for it. 

Bacon's rebellion 

The glut became glaringly evident by 1660, and 
set in motion the vicious cycle all too familiar to 
those who live by tilling the soil. Hogsheads 
weighted with dirt, straw, trash and scrap gave the 
English and Europeans a good reason not merely 
to pay less, but not to buy at all. Divested of liveli- 
hood, the smaller planters turned west, casting 
about for new lands and possibly new crops, or with 
an eye on the lucrative fur trade with the Indians. 
Here they encountered Governor Berkeley's wall 
of frontier forts, built to protect white from red 
and, remembering the Powhatan days, vice versa. 
Violations of Berkeley's "forest curtain" led to 
squabbles not only with the Indians but with 
Berkeley, who had imposed heavy taxes to build 
the outposts. Taxes were paid in tobacco, and 


Berkeley's useless forts were said to be "a design of 
the grandees to engross all of the tobacco into their 
own hands." 

The result was a foretaste of the American Revo- 
lution. Colonists along the upper James River 
named a young planter of good family, Nathaniel 
Bacon, to form their own militia in defiance of 
Berkeley. General Bacon with his volunteers set 
off to find the Susquehannock Indians, and Berkeley 
with his troops marched up the James to find 
Bacon, whose farm was near the "Falls of the 
Farre West," now Richmond. 

Both sides organized "navies" using merchant 
ships, and although the Governor's force of 80 
men and four ships controlled the Chesapeake, 
Bacon controlled all but the coastal portion of Vir- 
ginia. Believing themselves in the right, the rebels 
were eager for a showdown fight with Berkeley's 
diffident soldiers, but the climax battle was never 
fought. Bacon sickened in the fall of 1676 and died 
of a fever. His followers, still disdainful of the Gov- 

ernor but unwilling to risk an eventual clash with 
British troops, lost heart. Many were tricked into 
giving up their arms by the vengeful Governor, 
who was said to have hanged more Virginians after 
Bacon's death than had been killed in the rebellion. 
He was recalled to England and discarded as "an 
old fool" by Charles II, but the bitter blood re- 
mained. Had Bacon lived, the War of Independ- 
ence might have begun in 1676 instead of 1776. 

Cutters and Pluckers 

The end of Bacon and his rebellion did not solve 
the tobacco problem. At first, the colonial govern- 
ments tried to limit the number of plants each 
worker might set out. In the sparsely settled tide- 
water, laced with creeks and rivers, this was un- 
enforceable. Then Virginia tried a "stint" — com- 
plete suspension of all trade in tobacco — first in 
1663, and again in 1666 and 1681. If enforced, the 
stint would have worked: in 1667 a severe August 
storm destroyed two-thirds of the crop, and prices 

Bacons Rebellion of 1676 expressed resentment of own hands." Nathaniel Bacon and central Virginia 

smaller planters toward Governor Berkeley and his militia confronted Berkeley and his Burgesses at 

heavy taxes. Berkeley and cronies were suspected sword's point (above), later burned Jamestown to 

of trying to "engross all the tobacco into their the ground. But Bacon died and so did the revolt. 


advanced. But the colonists could not create such 
"luck" themselves. The first two times a stint was 
proposed, Maryland refused to go along with Vir- 
ginia; the third time the royal Customs officers re- 
fused to permit it. Enraged planters instituted their 
own crop control the following year, 1682, rioting 
and destroying the better part of a million pounds 
of leaf. The plant-cutting riots were illegal but 
effective: prices rose the year afterward. Like 
Rolfe's unpresented petition for freedom of trade 
60 years before, this revolt of the "Cutters and 
Pluckers" was another tug at the Crown's ruthless 
imperialism — a step in the gradual progression 
towards a tug of war. 

Carolina competition 

As production outran demand, Virginia also 
sought to bring the two into balance by closing 
Old Dominion ports to North Carolina tobacco. 
Later, when roads were built, the "importation" of 
North Carolina leaf into Virginia by either route 
was prohibited. Eventually, these actions- were re- 
voked by the mother country; but North Carolina's 
leaf culture was throttled for 60 years, since its 
colonial tobacco region was inaccessible to deep- 
water craft. The interstate tobacco rivalry brought 
into the open in 1679 by Virginia's first exclusion 
act was a long and bitter one, and had profound 
effects on both states two centuries later. 

Actually, high feeling between Virginians and 

Carolinians had begun even before 1650. It grew 
from the economic enterprise of the New England 
traders, combined with the tricky shoals and shal- 
low inlets of North Carolina's Outer Banks— insu- 
lating the coast from marine commerce, but made 
to order for piracy and smuggling. Ever alert to 
potential trading profits, New Englanders in vessels 
of light draft took out most of the Carolina leaf by 
sea, coastering it to their own ports and thence to 
the ports of Europe. Bypassing the King's customs- 
men, the New Englanders undercut British leaf 
merchants in the important continental market. 
Many Virginia planters did not take kindly to this 
arrangement, and for a while North Carolina was 
known as "Rogues Harbour." Parliament in 1673 
tried to stop the practice by levying a penny-a- 
pound export duty on intercolonial leaf shipments. 
Faced with economic isolation, the Carolinians 
rebelled immediately, demanding the right to free- 
dom of trade. Just as the Cornishmen brushed aside 
Queen Elizabeth's agents a century before to main- 
tain duty-free trade in Spanish leaf, so the Carolin- 
ians set up a cry of "God Dame ye Collector" and 
elected their own governor, John Culpeper. Fear- 
ful that the disorder would lead to revocation of 
their charter, the Lords Proprietors covered up 
"Culpeper's Rebellion" and assured His Majesty 
that the plantation tax was being enforced. It was 
not; nor were Culpeper and his "rabble" punished. 
Another pull away from imperial servitude and 











Considering the limited area planted to tobacco, 
the expert volume reached by the planters of the 
tidewater was substantial. For a period of wooden, 

wind-driven merchant ships, the 23,000,000 pounds 
of 1703 was no mean quantity. Huge, slave-manned 
plantations began to develop about the year 1690. 















Sixfold increase from the tidewater export peak 
to that of 1920 underestimates the actual growth 
of the American tobacco crop. By 1860, the amount 

of leaf manufactured for U.S. consumption equaled 
the poundage shipped abroad. During colonial days 
almost the entire tobacco crop was sold overseas. 


toward freedom had been, in its small way, 

It is significant, in view of the later emergence 
of the U.S. as the world's industrial pacesetter, 
that each major incident in the long pull toward 
independence was centered not on religious or 
political integrity but on economic freedom. In the 
nature of the colonial economy, most of these inci- 
dents involved tobacco. 

Nor did they always take the form of petitions 
and rebellions. In the course of each year's leaf 
trade, there was a continual effort to bypass the 
grasping British crown. Around 1690, for example, 
a considerable part of the tobacco crop was shipped 
in bulk, not hogsheaded. This enabled a ship to 
carry more tobacco, making it easier to unload— and 
easier to smuggle ashore. English women and chil- 
dren came aboard before the cargo had cleared 
Customs to buy loose leaf "at the mast." Not to be 
done out of its royalties, the Crown prohibited all 
import of bulk leaf in 1698. 

This kind of "honest smuggling" was, however, a 

drop in the hogshead compared to the Smuggler's 
Fleet, comprising ships of Scotland, Ireland, New 
England and Holland, all calling at the Chesapeake 
wharves quite openly to take off cargoes of to- 
bacco. In 1692 the Collector of Customs there re- 
ported to his English chief that "in these three years 
last past there has not been above five ships trad- 
ing legally in all those rivers and nigh thirty Sayle 
of Scotch, Irish and New Englandmen." There 
were not enough British bottoms to handle the 
Virginia trade at the time; and there were not 
enough warships in the British navy to police the 
many-fingered Chesapeake estuary. Futhermore, 
Scottish settlers came to the plantations in consid- 
erable numbers — many tobacco manufacturers of 
later years were their descendants — making en- 
forcement of the Navigation Act against Scotch 
ships doubly difficult. Before the Union of Scotland 
and England in 1707, the former was regarded as 
a foreign nation, especially in the economic sense; 
in this situation the Scotch smuggled. After the 
Union, the Scottish ships had equal access to the 

"Smugglers' Fleet" of ships from Holland, Ireland, proficient tobacco runners but major manufacturers 
New England and Scotland was as large as Britain's of snuff. HogsheadsunloadedatBroomidawonClyde 
"Tobacco Fleet" of 300 ships. Scots were not only in eighteenth century supplied Glasgow snuff works. 


imperial colonies; in this situation the canny Scotch 
i continued to evade the duty, for they managed to 
pay more for leaf in America and sell it for less in 
Bristol, London and Liverpool. 

Strings across the sea 

Contributing to the so-called economic yoke, 
which required the War of Independence to throw 
off, was the staggering growth of planters' debts to 
the British merchants receiving their goods on con- 
signment. It was a long time between seeding 
plants and seeing payment, so the colonials gen- 
erally drew credit from their British consignees for 
the purchase of furniture, clothing and other amen- 
ities which could not be grown on tidewater loam. 
All but the simplest manufactured objects — even 
clay pipes and factory-ground snuff — were im- 
ported from Britain. These long-range billings pro- 
vided chances enough for cheating. But a more 
serious result was that the planter, once in debt to 
a given agent, lost his individual freedom of trade 
and had to accept whatever price that particular 
agent would pay for his leaf. In some cases the debt 
interest amounted almost to usury, and in most 
cases plantations were worked for generations 
without ever being out of debt. As the tobacco 
trade wore on into the eighteenth century, British 
buyers began to operate in the tidewater colonies. 
This did not relieve the debt problem, since they 
preferred to buy in quantity from the big planters 
for ease of loading and shipment, and since most 
planters, large and small, preferred to gamble for 
a possibly high price on the London market against 
the certainly low price at Chesapeake dockside. 
They were, after* all, adventurers first and settlers 
afterward. They had to be, to build a civilization 
on a single cash crop, 3,000 miles from the source 
of most other supplies. 

This situation was doubly frustrating because 
there was no possible remedy under the imperialist 
restraints. Virginia leaf was an important factor in 
the world market, but Virginia men were not. The 
lack of merchandising and manufacturing by set- 
tlers was almost complete: the only record of a to- 
bacco factory before 1750 gives its leaf requirement 
as sixty hogsheads a year— 30,000 pounds, or one- 
tenth of one per cent of the average crop. While 
the tidewater men worked only for quantity, the 
Spanish and Portuguese colonists were manufactur- 

ers of quality products. Their Varinas tobacco rope 
and Canaster— twist in a basket— were acquiring a 
reputation and bringing good prices. The imperial- 
ism of the Iberian nations was, if anything, more 
naked in its cruelty than that of the British Crown. 
But the iron grip of Spain was accompanied by 
more enlightened economics than that of Britain: 
in the Antilles, there was no wild scramble to pack 
hogsheads with anything that grew green and dried 
brown— cultivation was controlled, and only the 
production of choice leaf encouraged. 

There were two sides to the no-manufacturing 
coin: it appears that the tidewater people were 
more or less content to be field hands of His Majes- 
ty. Such local manufacture as there was revolved 
around the working of hides and wool to provide 
clothing. When the tobacco market was glutted 
and prices dropped, a spate of manufacturing be- 
gan, particularly in cotton. The British would reg- 
ister official alarm, tobacco prices would rise, man- 
ufacturing would dwindle, and the colonists would 
resume planting and prizing. One of their gover- 

Desire- to imitate English manor life led Virginia 
planters to go into debt to their British tobacco 
agents. Debtsmountedwith succeeding generations. 



Tomahawk pipe was invented by white man for trade 
with Indians during early 1700s. It was a highly 
successful item of barter, usually made of iron. 

Indians carried pipe and skin tobacco pouch slung 
from neck or belt. Clay pipe was invented by red 
men but quickly imitated and mass-produced by the 
whites. Since Indians preferred white mans pipes 
and white mans tobacco, Virginia leaf and clays 
made in England were exchanged for furs and land. 

nors, Gooch, declared the extremes of climate "in- 
dispose both whites and blacks to hard working . . . 
where the earth produces enough to purchase and 
supply all the necessitys of life without the drudg- 
ery of much toil, men are tempted to be lazy." This 
may not have been the whole story; certainly the 
original Jamestowners did not find the good earth 
very fruitful without "the drudgery of much toil." 
Nevertheless, Gooch's observation probably ap- 
plied, or was intended to apply, to the small land- 
holders who by nature kept their exertions to a 


Common clay 

As in the Spanish discovery days, only the rough- 
and-ready consumer around 1700 chewed any sub- 
stantial amount of leaf, and that more from neces- 
sity than choice. Even he was likely to take up the 
pipe during moments of leisure. Between the two 
forms, per capita consumption was evidently quite 
considerable in those classes which had taken to 
tobacco at all. One such was the 40,000-man Brit- 
ish Navy; at that time three-fourths of the King's 
tars were estimated to chew and/or smoke one 
pound of tobacco each month. This figures to a 
per capita usage of about nine pounds a year — not 
far below the twelve pounds a year now consumed 
by the average American. 

The everyday use of tobacco was even less com- 
plicated than the rather elementary routine of har- 
vesting and hogsheading. A likely-looking leaf or 
two was snatched from the nearest available source 
-usually a crack in a hogshead— and stuffed into 
mouth or pipe. Although active males were the 
chewers of cud, almost everyone smoked a clay 
pipe— men, women and Indians. The latter had in- 
vented pipes centuries before whites arrived and 
had made them in a wide range of materials— soap- 
stone, bone, wood, clay and even porcelain. The 
Red Pipe-Stone Quarry of the northern plains, 
whose very location was secret, was a kind of hal- 
lowed shrine long before white men streamed into 
Dakotah territory. Since the Indians' primary food 
crop was corn, they are credited with originating 
the corncob pipe as well. 

Of all these types the brittle clay was most com- 
mon. It was quickly imitated and mass-produced 
by English pipemakers whose clays found a ready 
market in America, not only among the white set- 


\Clay pipe reached social heights in Prussia under gatherings of his intimates known as the "Tobacco 
\Frederick William I, the "smoking king." Regular Parliament" were dedicated to pipes and politics. 

tiers but among the red inhabitants as well. The 
typical Indian brave east of the Rockies carried his 
pipe and his animal-skin 'tobacco pouch wherever 
he went. As the white settler developed a better- 
tasting crop, the Indian abandoned his own 
tobacco-growing to barter for white man's leaf. 
Similarly, the red men preferred English clays 
when they could trade for them ( although the long, 
feathered wooden calumet, usually a sacred or 
ceremonial object, remained an Indian artifact). 
Trade with the Indians was always a profitable 
undertaking, and the whites could afford to go to 
considerable trouble to give the red-skinned trap- 
pers what they wanted for their pelts. Some un- 
known merchandising genius, aware of the place 
of warrier prowess and tobacco in the Indian 
scheme of things, invented the tomahawk pipe 
early in the eighteenth century. This was usually 
an iron affair, and was apparently one of the most 
eagerly sought barter items during the pre-Revolu- 
tionary years. Aside from furs, the only worth- 

while property the Indian could offer was land. 
This they would sell very cheaply: there is a seven- 
teenth-century record of the purchase of land in 
New Jersey in which 125 pipes and 100 Jews harps 
constituted the sole consideration. Part of Pennsyl- 
vania was bought with pipes by William Penn, the 
colony's founder. 

In Europe, tobacco in general and the pipe in 
particular were exalted to an incredible degree. 
The French playwright Moliere wrote of the leaf: 
"It is the passion of honest men and he who lives 
without tobacco is not worthy of living." ( ! ) Frede- 
rick William I of Prussia (1688-1740) was known 
to Europe as "the smoking king"; his Tobacco Par- 
liament was a regular gathering of intimates de- 
voted to beer and pipe smoking with political 

As a rule, pipes had small bowls; the dark air- 
cured leaf of the seventeenth century was a power- 
ful shag, best smoked in small doses. For the same 
reason pipe stems were fairly long compared with 


First snuff, like first pipe leaf and chew, was a 
"do-it-yourself" product. Tobacco rope was ground 
into coarse powder or "rapee" using pocket rasps. 

The eighteenth century was the great age of snuff. 
Inlaid silver snuffboxes like these were displayed 
by upper classes and "worn" like personal jewelry. 

today's; the luxury clay of the times had a curved 
stem so long it was known as a "yard of clay." The 
unblended strength of the rank shipping leaf, 
which required a robust palate to appreciate, also 
contributed to the vogue for snuff among the more 
delicately constituted upper classes. 


Most of the Indians encountered by the English 
colonists of North America were pipe smokers; the 
native snuff-takers lived in tropical America. Hence 
the initial spread of tobacco among Englishmen 
was in pipes. Snuff did not become an everyday 
commodity until late in the 1600s : thought to have 
antiseptic properties, it was prescribed for use 
against the Plague. It did not become fashionable 
until the turn of the eighteenth century. Under 
Queen Anne the snuff-box became indispensable 
to the well-turned-out gentleman, while the smok- 
ing of clay pipes was relegated to philosophers and 
the lower classes. 

Among the first snuff -takers were members of the 
clergy, who found tabacum pulveratum an incon- 
spicuous way to consume the leaf. In the haute 
monde, however, snuffing was a conspicuous form 
of consumption. Its origin with the naked Arawaks 
of Cuba and Hispaniola was overlooked by ; the 
French, who raised it to an elaborate social ritual 

imitated by the upper classes of Britain. The high 
society of the colonies followed the British in 
adopting this flamboyant excuse for graceful finger- 
movements, ostentatious snuff-boxes, and the flour- 
ishing of silken handkerchiefs. 

Although a fast fad for "sniveling and snorting" 
developed during the latter half of the seventeenth 
century, the courtly eighteenth century was the 
great age of snuff. Tobacco powder was sold by the 
ton, not only among the well-born and the clergy 
but also among the ordinary subjects of Portugal, 
Spain, Italy, France and, lastly, England. Pulver- 
ized and perfumed, tobacco was inserted up the 
nostrils in dainty pinches and the excess removed 
with a tiny snuffspoon. For those of lofty station, 
snuff had a dual advantage: not only was it a means 
by which soothing scents were introduced into the 
organ of smell, but it also blanketed the user's olfac- 
tory sensibilities against other strong odors. Among 
the lowly who were the source of some of these 
odors, snuff served an even more practical pur- 
pose: it induced sneezing, which was thought to 
have therapeutic value. 

At first, snuffing was just as crude as the chewing 
or burning of whatever hank of leaf came to hand. 
The powder was not milled in factories but pre- 
pared from standard tobacco rope by the consumer 
on a "grate-your-own" basis. From the French 


word for rasp, used to grate the dried leaf, comes 
the term rapee, still used to designate coarse snuff. 
Factory mills could grind the tobacco much finer, 
and snuff-making became a thriving business in 
many cities of western Europe, most notably Glas- 
gow. The Scotch were quick to import leaf from 
the Chesapeake colonies; their merchants even set 
up stores in the interior where they could barter 
merchandise for leaf before it got to the wharves. 
They were just as quick to manufacture and export 
snuff. During the first half of the eighteenth cen- 
tury Scotch snuff had its greatest sale in London, 
and that city's "overseas suburb," Virginia, also 
formed a good market. So assiduously did the col- 
onists take to the snuffing custom that small mills 
were started in Virginia about 1730, in Rhode 
Island about 1750, and in New York City about the 
year 1760. Only the last-named enterprise, founded 
by Pierre Lorillard, has survived to the present 
day; thus the P. Lorillard Company is the nation's 
oldest tobacco manufacturer. During the 1800s, in 
England, the original tobacconist's signs of the 
black Virginia Indian gave way to that of a Scot, 
which eventually culminated in the cigar store 
Indian of the U.S. 

Although the varieties of snuff were almost in- 
finite, there were three basic types made in Europe 
from Virginia leaf. Scotch snuff was a dry, strong, 
virtually unflavored product which was finely 
ground. Maccaboy snuff was moist and heavily 
scented. Rapee snuff, also known as Swedish, was 
grated to a more coarse consistency. None of these 
could quite duplicate the distinctive flavor of 
Seville or Spanish snuff, ground from Havana leaf 
and known as "Musty." In almost any form, Vir- 
ginia shipping leaf suffered by comparison with 
Spanish tobacco. 

Tobacco roads 

Much of the "adventure" or business risk of the 
tidewater tobacco trade revolved around the mat- 
ter of shipping. In order to economize on shipping 
space, most leaf was prized (compressed) into 
hogsheads. At first these were 400 to 600 pounds in 
weight, the average growing to 1,200 pounds as 
hogshead dimensions increased. The crude cooper- 
ing of the day, and the equally crude packing of 
the leaf for a 3,000-mile journey, were not calcu- 
lated to preserve the finest leaf quality. Since not 

Kilted Scot replaced black "Virginia boy" as the 
tobacconist's trade figure, reflecting Scotland's 
dominance in the business of snuff manufacturing. 


You Should Thy ThphJV[yrTL£ gf\p.VE 

Later advertisement for the leading English snuff 
ignored "sniff appeal" in favor of "snob appeal." 


every plantation could touch water, many hogs- 
heads had to be rolled to the nearest tobacco wharf 
over rough trails — "rolling roads" or "tobacco 
roads." Even a mile of this involved a certain 
amount of bruising, and ten or twenty miles could 
ruin a season's work. From wharves the hogsheads 
were loaded directly or lightered in flat scows to 
the ships, generally built to stow hogsheads seven 
deep. Should the hogs vary to any extent from the 
accepted size, the end cask would be cropped to 
fit it into the hold. Shipwreck or piracy meant a 
100% loss, but the normal course of water trans- 
port usually reduced the value of the leaf to some 
degree: rotting in a leaky bottom, withering in hot 

climates, petty thievery through the loose staves 
everywhere. Crucial as these risks were to individ- 
ual planters, a bigger menace to the leaf trade as 
a whole was the great fertility of the tidewater 
land and the consequent over-production. 

The quest for quality 

Eventually, Virginia came to grips with crop 
control by setting up inspection warehouses to cut 
off the export of trash, lugs, suckers, slips and 
sweepings at the source. These warehouses or "roll- 
ing houses" were located within one mile of deep 
water by law. After a false start in 1713, an inspec- 
tion act with teeth was passed in 1730. "Tobacco 

Planters who owned deep-water wharves made mo- large shipment, imported goods to trade for leaf, 
ney by assembling small farmers crops into a single Illustration is part of an eighteenth-century map. 


"Rolling road" or "tobacco road" was crude trail specified that inspection warehouses be within a 

over which hogsheads were bumped to water s edge . mile of deep water. One hogshead held 400 or 500 

Rolling hogs over rough roads usually resulted in pounds of leaf, representing a whole years cash 

bruised, dirty tobacco; for this reason, the law crop for small farmers called "one-hogshead men." 

notes" certifying leaf for export were issued by the 
public inspectors; leaf not qualifying was burned: 
this included bruised, worm-eaten, barn-burned or 
smoked tobacco and all ground leaves. Almost im- 
mediately, the international reputation of Virginia 
leaf was restored. Maryland held aloof as its leaf 
sank into comparative disrepute, but she too had 
suffered from overproduction and had experienced 
a "cutters and pluckers" revolt in 1730. Maryland 
finally passed its own inspection act in 1747. 

So effective was this quality control that "to- 
bacco notes" or "crop notes" began to take the place 
of leaf itself as colonial currency. This did not mark 
any great change in the tobacco culture itself, but 
merely replaced the old leaf -barter system with a 
more stable currency, now based on a commodity 
of standardized quality. Taxes and other fees had 
long been paid in tobacco. The story is told that 
wives were "bought" for tobacco by the Jamestown 
colonists; actually, the passage fees of twelve Eng- 
lish ladies who journeyed thither with matrimonial 
intent were paid in leaf. For more than a hundred 
years, clergymen's salaries were set by law in terms 
of leaf— 16,000 pounds (tobacco, not sterling) per 
year. This made each minister his own leaf expert 
and, willy-nilly, a speculator in tobacco. 

Mr. Patrick Henry 

In 1758 the use of tobacco as money touched off 
the celebrated trial of the Parson's Cause, whose 
central issue was the right of Virginia to pass her 
own laws. The law in question was known as the 
Two Penny Act, and provided that debts payable 
in leaf could be discharged in currency instead; 
bad weather had led the legislature to anticipate a 
small crop. The clergymen resisted, since the small 
crop made for higher prices, and the following 
year obtained an Order of Council from the Crown 
declaring the Two Penny Act null and void. Some 
of the clergymen then brought suit against Vir- 
ginia for their "losses"— the difference between two 
pence per pound and the higher market price. A 
27-year-old lawyer named Patrick Henry pleaded 
the case for the taxpayers against one of these 
clergymen, basing his argument on the right of 
Virginia to manage its own affairs without arbitrary 
interference from a tyrannical king. Henry's un- 
suspected genius as an orator made the jury's 
"blood to run cold, and their hair to rise on end." 
No wonder: his words were nothing less than trea- 
son from the British point of view. But the verdict 
was another step on the road to independence: the 
plaintiff, Reverend James Maury, was awarded one 


Patrick Henry won fame defending Virginia's right rallied the colonies to rebel against imperialist 
to pay clergy in cash instead of tobacco, a right Britain: "I know not what course others may take, 
not recognized by the British king. In 1775 Henry but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" 

penny in damages and the royal veto was flaunted. 
Henry, who had taken the case with tongue in 
cheek as a means to achieve notoriety, eventually 
succumbed to the force of his own reasoning. Sev- 
enteen years later, in St. John's Episcopal Church 
of Richmond, he was to voice for the Virginia Con- 
vention and the colonies the rallying cry of a new 

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be pur- 
chased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid 
it, Almighty God! I know not what course others 
may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give 
me death! 

First families of Virginia 

Primitive as the tobacco currency system sounds, 
the civilization that evolved with it was anything 
but primitive. Great plantations, great manor 
houses, great names grew up in the Chesapeake 
along with the six-foot stalks of Nicotiana tabacum. 

Before 1700, estates of 5,000 acres or so were the 
rule; in the next century they ran as high as 300,000 

Despite the Crown's ban on manufacture, estates 
of this size turned out shoes, cloth, hemp, bar iron, 
and nails in addition to tobacco. Inevitably, they 
also turned out men of ability. 

The most famous concentration of tobacco plan- 
tations or "hundreds" was stretched along the 
James River between Jamestown Island and the 
falls at what is now Richmond. Westover, Berkeley 
Hundred, Shirley Hundred and Bermuda Hundred 
adjoined each other. Although these could trace 
their patents to the early years of settlement, none 
became great establishments until 1700 or there- 
abouts. Before that time, tobacco farming was 
largely a hundred-acre proposition; most of the 
work was done by free citizenry. The first slave 
ship arrived in 1619, but there was comparatively 


little importation of captured Africans for the next 
50 years or so. It was not until the slave traffic be- 
came heavy and vast land-holdings were accumu- 
lated by wealthy proprietors that the sizable plan- 
tations evolved. When that happened, the small 
planter or "one-hogshead man" was squeezed into 
insignificance, or moved west. 

Hundreds into thousands 

But it was from small beginnings that the huge 
plantations — like Virginia itself — began. Berkeley 
Hundred, which grew into a 20,000-acre domain, 
was settled in 1619 as an independent colony or, 
more properly, as a colony within a colony. Thirty- 
eight men landed and declared a day of Thanks- 
giving on December 3, almost a year before the 
Pilgrims held a similar observance in Massachu- 
setts. They included a cooper, carpenter, shoe- 
maker, blacksmith, cook, gunsmith and other arti- 
sans; Richard Berkeley and the other absentee 
owners intended that the venture should be inde- 
pendent of relief ships, with its own supply facili- 
ties and a diversified crop. 

For a while, everything went along swimmingly. 
A college was set up, Indians converted to Christi- 
anity, and some brick construction initiated. By 
1622 there were 1,200 living colonists in the James 
area. But Powhatan had died in 1618 and his 
brother Opechancano, who succeeded him, was not 
so forbearing a king. The apparent permanence of 
the white settlements disturbed the Indians, but 
they were careful not to show it. On Good Friday 
of 1622 groups of the redmen wandered into the 
white homes and mess halls, many sitting down to 
breakfast with the English. As if by a signal they 
seized their hosts' knives and muskets, and in a 
trice 349 settlers were massacred. Only Jamestown, 
which had been warned of the plot, suffered no 
casualties. Again the little walled island became 
the lone outpost in a hostile forest; most of the sur- 
vivors fled there, since the methodical Indians had 
destroyed their food barns. By 1632, Berkeley had 
reverted almost to a wilderness. 

In time, settlement resumed. Most settlers were 
content merely to survive, but a few worked and 
fought their way into the big-planter class. One 
such was Benjamin Harrison II, son of a modest 
colonist who had acquired 200 acres across from 
Jamestown and increased it to 500 by his death 

around 1650. The second Harrison became a sher- 
iff, then a Burgess, and climaxed his career with 
the purchase of Berkeley Hundred in 1691. Under 
the third Benjamin Harrison the old place flowered 
into a mighty establishment of 20,000 acres with a 
fine brick manor house, slaves to grow the tobacco 
and tend the flocks, and a deep-water landing; it 
was known for a time as "Harrison's Landing." As 
the years revolved, tobacco increased and so did 
the Harrisons. The fourth Benjamin Harrison was 
a lord of the manor rather than a struggling planter- 
merchant; the fifth Benjamin Harrison had the 
wealth and leisure to devote his time to statecraft: 
he was a delegate to the Continental Congress, 
close friend of a wealthier planter, George Wash- 
ington, and, later, the first governor of independent 

To an extent, these great plantations were acci- 
dents of geography; most of them were fortunate 
enough to embrace deep-water landings. Less 
fortunately-situated growers took to delivering 

Tobacco spawned great Virginia plantations which 
set the pattern of life in the South. This was the 
Byrd manor house at Westover, on the James River. 


Berkeley Hundred dates from 1619; a Thanksgiving 
Day was celebrated there almost a year before the 
Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. The manor house 

was built in 1726 by Benjamin Harrison, a tobacco 
planter whose grandson became the ninth President 
and whose great-great-grandson the twenty-third. 

their hogsheads to the waterside plantation for 
shipment in the next available bottom. Gradually 
the big plantation came to furnish cooperage and 
other services; from this developed the plantation 
store which took leaf in trade for imported goods. 
In time, the planter became an importer, a boat- 
builder, a storekeeper, or a cotton spinner— some- 
times all of these in one. In addition to his leaf 
tobacco he might export sawed lumber, furs or 
hides. In some measure these establishments were 
independent of the violent price fluctuations of to- 
bacco: they could "wait out" the market and ship 
in vast quantities when the price was right. So 
evolved the Berkeley Hundreds, the Westovers, the 
Carters Groves. 

Leaf men into leaders 

The successful managers of these plantations 
were not transplanted English aristocrats, but 
rather energetic members of the lower and middle 
classes who generated their own aristocracy in the 
New World by dint of their own labor. Among 
them were William Fitzhugh of Bedford, whose 
income in 1686 ran to 60,000 pounds sterling and 
who left a plantation of 54,000 acres on his death 
in 1701. William Byrd II of Westover was the son 
of the Colonel Byrd who traded with Indians from 
his fort on the fall-line frontier. Like Fitzhugh, he 
became a member of the House of Burgesses, was 
educated in England, amassed one of the largest 
libraries in the Colonies, and held 179,000 acres by 


The most impressive plantations were those along ley Hundred were contiguous. The brick barn at 
the broad] ames between Richmond and the island of Shirley (above) was put up in the early 1 700s and is 
Jamestown. Westover, Berkeley Hundred, and Shir- still used; the plantation was worked as early as 1613. 

1744. Not surprisingly, Byrd was moved to write 
that tobacco's uses went far beyond smoking: "We 
should wear it about our clothes, and about our 
coaches. We should hang bundles of it round our 
beds, and in the apartments wherein we most con- 
verse." The most powerful of the planters was 
Robert Carter (1663-1732), better known as King 
Carter. His holdings exceeded 300,000 acres and 
he dominated not only the Virginia political scene, 
holding virtually every leading office at one time 
or another, but also ruled his local parish in spirit- 
ual matters, the minister being, in effect, his assist- 
ant. Services did not begin— in fact, the congrega- 
tion did not enter church— until Carter arrived. 
Carter and his counterparts were to Virginia 

what the cattle barons would be to the early West 
and the oil millionnaires to Texas. Vast holdings 
like Carter's 333,000 acres were not all worked by 
one owner's slaves. Some were worked by tenant 
farmers who paid rent in produce. Some were held 
as "reserve land" to replace the acreage constantly 
being worn out by mass tobacco cultivation. Plan- 
tation life was an alternation between the monoto- 
nous, seasonal sequence of seeding-priming-curing 
and the occasional bursts of social excitement that 
befit the lives of "landed gentry." Their pattern be- 
came the pattern of the whole South through the 
ascendancy of cotton, for as time went on the to- 
bacco cash crop was supplemented on the large 
plantations by the raising of fruit, cattle and grain, 


The great men of colonial Virginia originated not 
from the English aristocracy but from middle-class 
settlers who developed ability managing their own 

estates. George Washington, for example, was born 
in this modest homestead on Bridges Creek, within 
sight of the Potomac. Ground floor had four rooms. 

making each estate essentially sufficient unto itself. 
The storybook land of cavaliers and cotton fields 
swept away by the War Between the States took 
its shape from the little knot of successful tobacco 
growers clustered around the Chesapeake. With 
their success, which was the success of business 
acumen, grew political vision. Trained in the man- 
agement of self-sufficient plantations supporting 
up to 1,000 souls apiece, they passed easily into the 
management of whole colonies and the conduct of 
international affairs— first under, then against, the 
haughty kings of England. 

As it is usually expounded, the "great man theory 
of history" is somewhat one-sided. It cites the acts 
of great men as determining the course of events, 
and often ignores the events which shaped the 
great men. The experience of the Virginia colony — 
thrown on its own, forced to produce or starve, 
buffeted in its trade growth by the international 

winds of war and politics— was a crucible all in it- 
self, trying and testing and tinning out men of abil- 
ity. This unique and demanding situation bred the 
men it needed: Fitzhughs, Byrds, Carters, Digges, 
Lees, Randolphs,. Nelsons, Harrisons. And in its 
fullest flower the tobacco culture also bred George 
Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison. 


George Washington knew his tobacco. In 1760 
he wrote that "Rain for near four weeks has given 
a sad turn to our expectations ... a great deal 
of Tobacco being Drownd, and the rest spotting 
very fast, which is always a consequence of so 
much Wet Weather." Too much rain is still a major 
hazard to the South's big cash crop— apart from 
the unsightly spots, it "washes out" the leaves and 
renders them weak in flavor. Too little rain, of 
course, carries drastic results of its own. 


As Commander in Chief of the Revolutionary armies 
Washington asked his fellow- Americans to help his 
soldiers: "If you can't send money, send tobacco." 

But even more, Washington knew men. While 
one of the large tobacco planters of his day, he 
could see better than most what was happening to 
the Colonies' No. 1 cash crop under the London- 
consignment system. In four years out of five, he 
estimated, tobacco shipped on consignment to 
England actually returned lower prices than those 
obtainable at home. If the results of his career as a 
planter are any measure, Washington must be ac- 
counted as a self-made success. His landholdings 
west of the Appalachians alone exceeded 45,000 
acres; when the Declaration of Independence was 
written, he was reputed to have been the wealthi- 
est man in Virginia, possibly the wealthiest in the 
colonies. It was this, more than his limited military 
experience on the frontier, that led to his appoint- 
ment as commander-in-chief of the Continental 
armies. Washington's sagacity was not confined to 
a business knowledge of his fellow man; he was a 

natural leader as well as a natural gentleman. In 
1776, year of his most serious Revolutionary re- 
verse, loss of New York to the British, he appealed 
to his countrymen for aid to the army: "I say, if you 
can't send money, send tobacco." After he had 
ceased to grow tobacco for the market, he permit- 
ted his tenant to grow tobacco on his estate so as 
to provide leaf for family chewing and smoking. 

Tobacco in Revolution 

During the Revolutionary campaigns tobacco 
played its part as a sustainer of morale, much as it 
has in all wars since. In 1777 the British Colonel 
St. Leger and his Indian ally, Joseph Brant, found 
their drive across New York State blocked at Oris- 
kany. General Nicholas Herkimer with 800 militia- 
men moved to strengthen that strongpoint and 
were ambushed by St. Leger and his Indians. Al- 
though a ball had shattered his leg and killed his 
horse, Herkimer continued to command his troops 
while smoking his pipe. The engagement was 
broken off by the British, who were unable to re- 
duce the fort at Oriskany and retreated to Oswego. 

The immediate importance of tobacco to the 
success of the Revolution went beyond twist for 
the troops. The Chesapeake colonies continued to 
export leaf during the war years; the Continental 
Congress used it to build up credits aboard. In 1777 
Benjamin Franklin in Paris drew 2,000,000 livres 
against a contract to deliver 5,000 hogsheads of 
Virginia leaf. Of all people, the British were in a 
position to appreciate the value of leaf tobacco as 
currency reserve. British men-of-war, alerted to in- 
tercept America's chief source of foreign exchange, 
seized an estimated 34,000,000 pounds; but an addi- 
tional 53,000,000 pounds— slightly more than half a 
normal year's export— reached the overseas markets 
during the war years. England used her ground 
troops as well as her ships to stopper this funnel of 
American strength. In 1780 and 1781 Cornwallis 
and his armies made the destruction of tobacco in 
Virginia a primary mission. Ten thousand hogs- 
heads are supposed to have been burned in the 
course of the "Tobacco War," among them the leaf 
stores on Thomas Jefferson's plantation at Elk 
Island. Although the "useless and barbarous injury" 
done to his property by Cornwallis would have 
more than paid his debt to British creditors, Jeffer- 
son did not claim immunity on that account. Nor 


did he seek refuge in the "sequestration" laws 
passed by Virginia to wipe out private debts to the 
English. His personal declaration of dependence 
in this matter was quite as admirable as the more 
famous Declaration of Independence he had 
penned in Philadelphia seven years before. "Sub- 
stantial justice is my object, as decided by reason, 
and not by authority or compulsion." This was one 
of the proudest moments in the long history of 
Americans and tobacco. 

Tidewater's ebb 

The fight for independence was led and financed 
by aristocrats like Washington and Jefferson and 
Benjamin Harrison V. But in the process of dis- 
placing the British aristocrats, they displaced 
themselves too. Not only tobacco and barns but 
slaves were lost during the "Tobacco War" of 1780 
and 1781. The debts to British merchants remained 
an obstacle to resumption of the trade in Virginia 
leaf. Cash was low. So was the raw energy which 

had built up the plantations in the first place. Men 
looked to a new frontier and a new life across the 
Appalachians, among them the youngest son of the 
fifth Benjamin Harrison, William Henry Harrison. 
President George Washington, young William's 
guardian after his father died in 1791, got the rest- 
less youngster an ensign's commission, and the new 
ensign joined his regiment in Cincinnati. In effect, 
he rejected his aristocratic tidewater background; 
in 1811 he defeated Tecumseh at Tippecanoe and 
in 1840 ran for President as "Old Tippecanoe." By 
then his personality was of the "log-cabin" cast; but 
as a token of respect to the great days of the tide- 
water, "just plain Bill" Harrison stopped at Berke- 
ley Hundred on the way to the White House to 
write his inaugural speech in the room where he 
was born. 

Old Tippecanoe died a month after taking office 
as the ninth President. His grandson, Benjamin 
Harrison VIII, was to be the twenty-third Presi- 
dent. But neither belonged to the world of the tide- 


Washington was one of the large tobacco planters 
of his day, shipped considerable leaf to England. 
An acute businessman, he warned that leaf shipped 

to Britain on consignment brought less money than 
that sold on domestic market, in four years out of 
five. Mount Vernon crop was therefore diversified. 


water tobacco. Berkeley Hundred, topheavy with 
debt, was sold to the Carters of next-door Shirley 
only a year or two after William Henry Harrison 
paid the place his last visit. Most of the other large 
plantations, and the aristocrats who went with 
them, were to fade out of the tobacco story in a 
similar way. Independence and democracy brought 
in a new kind of economy to replace the static 
master-and-slave arrangement of a colonial 


Not a few of the Virginia gentlemen supported 
the Revolution in the belief that victory would 
automatically discharge them of their hereditary 
debts to English factors. But the Treaty of Paris 
( 1783) did not cancel out the tobacco debts. Some 
of the tidewater planters set about settling them. 
Others pleaded "sequestration" and were sued in 
the courts by their British creditors, who generally 
collected. The controversy dragged on for twenty 
years and was finally solved by Congressional ac- 
tion, the Federal Government paying £600,000 to 
Britain in full settlement of all the outstanding 

If the revolutionaries had wondered why they 
fought, as many of them doubtless did, the post- 
war resurgence of their tobacco trade formed part 
of the answer. At the recommendation of Lafa- 
yette, France opened her ports to Virginia leaf in 
1784, granting Americans the right of deposit at 
Lorient. The French government went so far as 
to urge the Farmers-General ( France's monopoly ) 
to forego its accustomed practise of pr elation— low- 
ering the purchase price of leaf after it was con- 
tracted for. This drastic suggestion was made be- 
cause the British, also keenly interested in Ameri- 
can tobacco, were offering every inducement to the 
new United States in an effort to restore commer- 
cial ties with its offspring. 

It has been said that the failure of Congress to 
settle the planters' debts immediately after the 
Revolution was responsible for the passing of the 
aristocratic tobacco culture of Old Virginia, since 
debt settlement proved the financial ruin of some 
of its finest families. But the prosperity of the to- 
bacco trade does not bear this out. In 1783, leaf ex- 
ports from Virginia alone jumped to more than 
86,000,000 pounds, as against the average of 

Pipe-smoking hero was General Nicholas Herkimer. 
His leg shattered when troops were ambushed near 
Oriskany, New York by British, Herkimer puffed on 
his pipe, directed skirmish until enemy withdrew. 

12,000,000 during the war years of 1776-1782. 
And in 1791, leaf exports constituted fully a fifth 
of all U. S. exports in point of dollar value. With 
no more than the ordinary year-to-year variations, 
the lucrative leaf business continued at a high level 
right up to the export embargo of 1808. There was, 
to be sure, a decided movement of tobacco cultiva- 
tion out of the Virginia tidewater ( it began as early 
as 1700 when English settlers crossed the Cumber- 
land Gap and planted tobacco in Kentucky). But 
the westering was prompted not by the impoverish- 
ment of a few individual planters, but by the im- 
poverishment of the tidewater soil itself. 

Thomas Jefferson, planter 

Jefferson's major influence on the history of the 
United States— and on the tobacco industry — was 
exerted during the early 1800s, and was felt in the 
West rather than in the tidewater country. But as 
a tobacco planter himself, familiar with the cross- 
currents of supply and demand that made leaf 
prices so unstable, he worried about Virginia's con- 
centration on the one crop. At the outbreak of the 
Revolution he, along with two out of three tobacco 
planters, was a financial prisoner of his British 
agents, and owed nearly 10,000 pounds sterling to 



Monticello, designed by Thomas Jefferson, is now his leaf stores during 1780-81, Jefferson insisted 

monument to his memory. Bricks, timber and nails on paying off his tobacco debts in full. "Justice 

to build it were made on the property. Like many is my object," said he, "as decided by reason and 

tobacco planters, Jefferson owed large amounts to not by authority or compulsion." Monticello manor 

British merchants. Although redcoats had destroyed house was begun in 1769, not completed until 1809. 

Glasgow and London firms. Jefferson deeply re- 
sented the debts peculiar to the tobacco trade 
winch "had become hereditary from father to son, 
for many generations, so that the planters were a 
species of property, annexed to certain merchants 
in London." In 1781 he wrote that leaf culture 

was fast declining at the commencement of this 
war, and that of wheat taking its place: and it 
must continue to decline on the return of peace. 
I suspect that the change in the temperature of 
our climate has become sensible to that plant, 
which, to be good, requires an extraordinary de- 
gree of heat. But it requires still more indispen- 
sably an uncommon fertility of soil: and the 
price which it commands at market will not 
enable the planter to produce this by manure. 
Was the supply still to depend on Virginia and 

Maryland alone, as its culture becomes more diffi- 
cult, the price would rise, so as to enable the 
planter to surmount those difficulties and to live. 
But the western country on the Mississippi, and 
the midlands of Georgia, having fresh and fertile 
lands in abundance, and a hotter sun, will be 
able to undersell these two states, and will oblige 
them to abandon the raising tobacco altogether. 
These remarks imply that exhaustion of the tide- 
water soil and lack of crop rotation were having 
some effect on the quality of leaf. Jefferson's 
prophecies of the spread of tobacco cultivation and 
the replacement of tidewater tobacco by wheat 
were correct, although his notions on temperature 
change and "hotter suns" were not. Later he echoed 
Washington's shrewd observation on the trans- 
oceanic tobacco trade: "Tobacco always sells bet- 


ter in Virginia than in the hands of a London mer- 
chant . . . submit to anything rather than to an ob- 
ligation to ship your tobacco." 

The Morris business 

The precept of business management spelled out 
by Jefferson, the farmer-philosopher, was vividly 
underlined by a great transaction between the 
French tobacco monopoly and Robert Morris, a 
Philadelphian who had helped finance the Ameri- 
can Revolution. The terms provided for the deliv- 
ery of 60,000 hogsheads of tobacco to the French 
Farmers-General in 1785-87. In return for the ex- 
clusive agency as supplier to France, Morris agreed 
to supply the leaf at 22% Virginia shillings per 
hundredweight ( the "normal" price at the time was 
40 shillings ) . 

Reaction to this in the Chesapeake area was 
mildly typified by a letter written by William 
Hemsley of Queen Anne County to his leaf dealer 
in Baltimore, which related in part: 

... In a letter Mr. Morris wrote me by the post 
on Saturday he says by Way of postscript that 
I must get Tobacco down to 25/per 100 ct. as 
soon as possible. I flatter myself you will not try 
the experiment, because I do not think it will 
succeed. The planters will send their Tobacco to 
Baltimore and barter it away in any shape before 
they will take that price . . . 
Morris was branded a traitor, a profiteer and a 
blackguard. The planters depended on the French 
market to take about a fourth of their crops. Mor- 
ris' "package deal" may have been good business— 
an attempt to secure a wholesale discount on a bulk 
lot— but Jefferson wrote that it "had thrown the 
commerce of that article in agonies." Washington 
was torn between sympathy for his fellow-planters 
and obligation to Morris, who had furnished funds 
in the nation's dark hours. Morris himself did not 
make out well on the deal, for part of the shipment 
was lost at sea and the hard-bargaining French 
quibbled about the quality of the delivered 

In the end, the invidious arrangement all but 
severed Franco-American trade. Extensive diplo- 
matic exchanges between Thomas Jefferson and 
the French minister Vergennes were intended, first, 
to abrogate the Morris contract and, second, to 
eliminate the French tobacco monopoly, the 
Farmers-General. Neither was accomplished. Ow- 

ing to the sharp policy and transparent chicanery 
of the French monopoly, the American leaf trade, 
greatest commercial prize of the era, was not won 
by France even though she was at the time the 
largest consumer in Europe. Resentment among 
French businessmen, whose commerce with the 
U. S. hinged on tobacco imports, was among the 
factors leading to the fall of the French monarchy 
in the bloody revolution of 1789. 

A hundred years later, in 1880, the U. S. Depart- 
ment of Agriculture was to report that 

Tobacco is, for several reasons, held longer in 
stock than the raw material of most manufac- 
turers, its production fluctuating more than that 
of corn and wheat. Prices are therefore variable, 
stimulating heavy movement when low, and caus- 
ing inequalities in the quantities held. The gov- 

Robert Morris, a Philadelphian who helped finance 
the American Revolution, became agent for French 
tobacco monopoly in 1785, contracted to ship leaf 
44% below normal price. He was branded a traitor. 


James Madison in 1794 opposed a tax on tobacco as 
unequal. He felt it would deprive poorer people of 
innocent gratification. Congress compromised with 
a tax on snuff, did not tax chew and pipe tobacco. 

ernment monopolies of several countries buy 
irregularly, in large quantities, as the required 
types are found in sufficient abundance and of 
desirable prices, and the trade is liable to sud- 
den and marked disturbance by the meteoric 
incursions of these regie buyers. With a neces- 
sity for a much larger "visible supply," for these 
reasons, than the current requirement for the 
year's manufacture, the record of stocks and 
probable crop at the close of each year is exam- 
ined with great care by dealers and manufactur- 
ers; and the subject is invested with additional 
interest from the mysteiy of the regie surplus, 
which it fails to penetrate. The probable crop is 
also a somewhat uncertain element, because the 
curing is not complete, and if the quantity could 
be precisely determined, the quality and avail- 
able value could not be so early as the close of 
December . . . 
This statement of the situation applied from the 
very beginning to Virginia's trade with the French 
monopoly and, to an extent, to the monopoly exer- 
cised by the London merchants. 

Leaf and taxes 

The momentum generated by the strong demand 
for tobacco had from the very first carried its own 
penalty: heavy taxes. British Crown revenue on the 
leaf amounted to the equivalent of $6,500,000 in 
1689, $16,500,000 at the outbreak of the American 
Revolution. These amounts — enormous for that 
period, and probably equal to the levies from all the 
other British possessions combined — were raised 
on only a small fraction of the tidewater leaf traffic. 
In 1775 only ten per cent of the colonies' exports 
were taxed at the full rate of eightpence plus; the 
remainder, re-exported to Europe, yielded only 
halfpenny a pound. Tobacco consumed in Britain 
thus bore almost the entire tax burden. ( This levy, 
once imposed successfully, set a precedent for other 
governments to follow. Today, American tobacco 
in the form of cigarettes is taxed at the rate of $1.43 
per pound by the federal government alone, with 
state governments adding another $.60 per pound 
on the average, and many cities another 17c or 
more on top of that. A pound of tobacco selling for 
60c in leaf form thus returns three to four times 
that amount to tax authorities by the time it reaches 
the smoker.) 

Since tobacco traffic on this side of the Atlantic 
was in hogsheads rather than in pounds, the princi- 
pal revenue to Virginia and Maryland came from 
an export duty of two shillings per hogshead. There 
was also the 1673 penny-a-pound "plantation tax" 
on tobacco shipped from colony to colony, but col- 
lecting it proved difficult. Perhaps for this reason 
the King in 1693 granted to the College of William 
and Mary all plantation taxes on tobacco in Vir- 
ginia and Maryland. 

Smoking vs. snuffing 

Taxes are always controversial, and extra-heavy 
taxes are even more so. One of the first tax debates 
in the Congress of the infant United States had to 
do not with leaf tobacco but with manufactured 
tobacco and snuff. Alexander Hamilton, the first 
Secretary of the Treasury, discussed the imposition 
of excise taxes with tobacco makers of Philadelphia 
a few years after the Revolutionary War. After ex- 
tensive argument, Congress took the position that 
snuff was a foppish fancy and should bear a tax, 
while ordinary citizens who smoked or chewed 
would not be injured by such a levy. During debate 
James Madison delivered this opinion: 


As to the subject before the House, it was proper 
to choose taxes the least unequal. Tobacco excise 
was a burden the most unequal. It fell upon the 
poor, upon sailors, day laborers, and other people 
of these classes, while the rich will often escape 
it. Much has been said about the taxing of 
luxury. The pleasures of life consisted in a series 
of innocent gratifications, and he felt no satis- 
faction in the prospect of their being squeezed. 
Sumptuary laws had never, he believed, answered 
any good purpose. 

The original bill provided for excises on refined 
sugar, tobacco and snuff. As passed in 1794, the 
word "tobacco" was taken out. The Philadelphia 
manufacturers, in pressing for this desirable result, 
presented a succinct description of the nascent 
American manufacturing industry: 

Before the revolution, the American consump- 
tion of manufactured tobacco was almost exclu- 
sively supplied by British manufacturers. In 
Pennsylvania there existed but one snuff-mill; 
and all the other colonies could reckon but one 
more. . . . Manufactured tobacco is of a late 
date in this country. Previous to the war, little 
or none was ever used, at least in New Eng- 
land; the inhabitants there were accustomed to 
use the leaf-tobacco, and that of their own rais- 
ing. The manufacture was begun in the large 
seaport towns, for the accommodation of foreign- 
ers, and sailors, who wanted it for their sea stores, 
and to carry as ventures [smuggling] to those 
places, where tobacco was heavily dutied. By 
degrees the use of manufactured tobacco has 
extended into the country . . . 

Freedom to manufacture 

Between the lines of this short description can be 
sensed the great economic change that was to come 
over the United States with its release from vassal- 
age to the King. In the tidewater, tobacco produc- 
tion was diminishing in the interest of greater self- 
sufficiency; in the west, tobacco culture would re- 
ceive new impetus as the trading crop for pioneer 
settlers; and in the cities of the East coast manufac- 
turing — not only of tobacco but of other goods — 
was already beginning a vigorous growth that 
hasn't stopped yet. As a consumer's good, tobacco 
was reaching new peaks; America was literally 
growing up in smoke. 

Tightly bound to England by traditional ties as 
well as those of credit, their manufacturing enter- 
prise squelched by imperial policy, the men of tide- 
water had been fleeced repeatedly by the economic 
bullies of Europe. Only where they had achieved a 
"balanced economy"— on the largest, self-sufficient 
plantations— did they enjoy any degree of economic 
independence. The Morris contract drove home to 
them their own shortcomings as businessmen, but 
it was a long time after the Revolution— three-quar- 
ters of a century— before the major industry of the 
Chesapeake region could be brought into a balance 
between export and manufacture. 

Better as businessmen, and perhaps for that rea- 
son soonest aware of the need for independence of 
trade as a basis for political freedom, were their 
fellow-Americans of the North, the Yankees. 

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New England's sparse soil spurred its settlers to 
live by their wits. Boston became a great trading 
and shipping center. Yankee enterprise moved from 
"honest smuggling" of Virginia leaf to the export 
of Connecticut cigar leaf and crude cigar-rolling. 


If Virginia was the womb of the Colonies, New 
England was their sharp eye. In one, tobacco re- 
newed the cornucopia with seasonal, sleepy regu- 
larity; in the other, rocky soil and biting frost com- 
pelled the Yankee to fight nature, to shift for him- 
self, to adapt. Virginia showed the measured enter- 
prise of a rich land mined for its treasures; New 
England the quick enterprise, the alertness, the 
trading instinct of an orphan forced to live by his 

The tobacco trade furnishes ample evidence of 
Yankee enterprise. Like the Jamestowners, the first 
colonists were quick to perceive the Indian culture 
of the leaf, and quick to plant it themselves. 
Connecticut was settled in 1633, and before 1640 
tobacco crops were being raised at Windsor. The 
bitter taste of the rustica variety smoked in pipes 
by the Indians led the Connecticut growers to fol- 
low Rolfe's sequence in switching to the large- 
leaved "Spanish" plant: seed for this purpose was 
obtained from Virginia. The importance of tobacco 
during the very earliest years of New England is 
seen in the fact that protective legislation was 
enacted by Connecticut in 1640, and even earlier 

by Massachusetts. Citizens were forbidden to con- 
sume any tobacco grown in other colonies, under a 
penalty of five shillings per pound. This set a pat- 
tern for New Englanders which lasted more than 
150 years— they satisfied personal tobacco needs by 
growing their own and using it in unmanufactured, 
"home-made" form. 

The native Indian habits of consumption, like 
native Indian farming methods, were taken over 
by the whites. As among most North American 
tribes, the pipe was most in evidence, but where 
the redmen mixed the coarse indigenous leaf with 
sumac or willow bark for smoking, the whites used 
straight "Virginia leaf" grown from Latin America 
seed. The Indians of that region also rolled their 
leaf into crude cigars, a practice which seems to 
have been imitated to some extent by the Yankees. 
Thus, from the start, Connecticut settlers were very 
much aware of the cigar, which was to dominate 
the later tobacco industry of their state. The special 
requirements of a marketable brown roll— Havana 
leaf for filler and smooth leaf for wrapper — were 
not available to Yankee hands for the better part of 
two centuries. Putting it another way, the leaf first 


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raised in the Connecticut River valley was not suit- 
able for first-class cigar manufacture, although the 
thrifty New Englanders found it good enough for 
their own use. 

Trick of the trade 

The sharp commercial aptitude bred by a sparse 
environment showed itself in the Yankees' immedi- 
ate invasion of the world tobacco trade. In 1650, 
still within the first generation of New England set- 
tlement, the British Parliament became alarmed at 
the amount of "New-England leaf" imported by 
Old England. A duty was imposed, matching that 
on tidewater leaf. But the Connecticut Valley prod- 
uct did not then ( and does not now ) resemble Vir- 
ginia leaf, and commanded no market outside New 
England. Furthermore the total area suitable for 
tobacco, a maximum of 31,000 acres, was not culti- 
vate until 1921, and as late as 1839 production fig- 
ures indicate that less than 400 acres were planted 
to leaf. Even the latter figure represents a consider- 
able post-Revolutionary expansion of leaf trade so 
it is certain that the few hogsheads Massachusetts 
and Connecticut could have grown in 1650 would 

have been scarcely noticed in the massive flow of 
tidewater tobacco. 

Yankee sailors, aware of the burgeoning de- 
mand for the "golden leaf," were simply buying 
tobacco in quantity from Virginia and Maryland 
planters, re-shipping it from Boston as New Eng- 
land leaf. Later they entered the North Carolina 
region, plying the shifting channels of the Outer 
Banks to take out leaf excluded from the Virginia 
ports. From the point of view of imperialist Britain, 
this was smuggling; in the eyes of the New Eng- 
land shipmasters, it was merely undeclared eco- 
nomic independence. 

To the early Yankees smuggling was very nearly 
an article of faith. The original Pilgrimage from 
Britain was a flight from restraint — religious re- 
straint, political restraint, economic restraint. The 
concepts of natural law and the rights of man ap- 
plied as much to the coffee-house and the exchange 
as to the chapel. One Englishman observed that the 
New Englanders would 

complain and smuggle, and smuggle and com- 
plain, 'till all restraints are removed and 'till he 
can both buy and sell, whenever, and whereso- 


ever, he pleases. Anything short of this, is still a 
Grievance, a Badge of Slavery. 

In many ways the New England approach to 
business most closely resembled that of the dour, 
thrifty Scotch. Before they were united with the 
hated English in 1707, the practical Highlanders 
imposed a lower duty on colonial leaf and used the 
margin to undersell London tobaccomen in their 
own market. 

After the England-Scotland "union," this trade 
advantage disappeared, so the Scotch set about in- 
tensifying their smuggling activity and continued 
to play profitable hob in the London leaf market. 
No self-respecting Yankee shipman could ignore 
so conspicuous an example of successful free enter- 

In manufacturing also, the Scotch set an enviable 
example. Very early in the game they took to snuff 
manufacture, which could be a most economical 
process : in general "smutchin" could be adequately 
described as flour of tobacco stalk. It lent itself to 
the many variations demanded by ladies and gentle- 
men of fashion. There was colored snuff, bleached 
snuff, perfumed snuff, spiced snuff; morning snuff, 
afternoon snuff, evening snuff, snuff for pleasure, 
snuff for medicinal use. Snuff-boxes, like gentle- 
men's canes, were never "carried" but always 
"worn": a design suitable for summer might be 
utterly de trop during the winter season. 

The Yankees, with a natural affinity for the prac- 
tical Scotch, tried to emulate them in smutchin as 
well as in smuggling. 

One of the first American snuff manufactories 
was built in Rhode Island around 1750 by a New 
England immigrant from Scotland named Gilbert 
Stuart (his son, born in the living quarters of the 
second story in 1755, was to become famous for his 
great portraits, particularly that of George Wash- 
ington ) . It was Stuart's aim to use the nearby Con- 
necticut Valley leaf as a source of supply, but 
although his snuff was up to snuff, he was hampered 
by the unavailability of glass bottles. Like the early 
Spanish sailors, Stuart tried to make do with dried 
animal bladders for containers, but this crude pack- 
ing discouraged sales and the factory closed down. 
The story illustrates the obstacles in the way of 
even the simplest kind of manufacture before the 
War of Independence. 

Although their manufacturing efforts were fore- 
doomed to failure, the contraband leaf commerce 
carried on by daring, darting Yankee merchant 
sloops was one of many ventures that built the 
reputation of the New England traders. During the 
century preceding the Revolution, the austere col- 
onies of New England supported an eightfold pop- 
ulation increase; while the lush loam of the Chesa- 
peake colonies supported a tenfold increase, nearly 
half of which was accounted for by the importation 
of slaves. These statistics alone tell the story of 
Yankee enterprise. 

"No smoking" 
Within New England itself, the use of tobacco 
passed through a controversial stage at the begin- 

Snuff bottles of eighteenth-century Europe were as 
elaborate as today's perfume vials. Snuffmakers of 

New England could get no bottles of any kind, tried 
animal bladders with no success, eventually gave up. 


I < 




General Israel Putman brought three donkey-loads officer by sitting longest near a keg of "powder," 

of Havana cigars to Connecticut in 1762, thereby calmly puffing his pipe (the keg contained onions), 

starting New England's long cigar tradition. "Old A "rough, fiery genius" Putnam was to win renown 

Put" was a Yankee idol. He had out-dueled a British as a Yankee commander at the Battle of Bunker Hill. 

ning. Like the dour James I, the dour Puritans 
looked at the Indians and their customs with par- 
ticular disgust. To this was added a distinctly blue- 
nosed attitude toward creature comforts and 
sensual pleasures in general. In 1647 the Connect- 
icut General Court ordered that no one 

under the age of 20 years, nor any other that 
hath not allreaddy accustomed himself to the use 
should take tobacco without a physician's certifi- 
cate that it was "useful for him," plus a license from 
the Court. Furthermore, tobacco could not be taken 
in public, or even in the open fields or woods except 
on journeys of 10 miles or more. A citizen might 
smoke at "the ordinary tyme of repast comonly 

called dynner." But no more than two could enjoy 

their after-dinner pipe in the same house at the 

same time. 

In New Haven a fine of sixpence was imposed in 

1646 for smoking in public, and in 1655 it was 

ordered that 

no tobacco shall be taken in the streets, yards or 
aboute the howses in any plantation or farme in 
this jurisdiction without dores, neere or aboute 
the towne, or in the meeting howse, or body of 
the trayne Souldiors, or any other place where 
they may doe mischief thereby, under the pen- 
alty of 84 pence a pipe or a time, wch is to goe 
to him that informs and prosecuts. 

Those lacking 84 pence would be given a sojourn 

in the stocks. 




New England taverns like the Fountain House on "free" to their patrons. Of scant commercial value, 
the Boston-Salem roadkept a cigar barrel, gave cigars they were crude, homemade rolls of unblended leaf. 

Like the fulminations of James I in England, 
these statutes represented a minority viewpoint 
and did not stand up. Home cultivation of tobacco 
and its informal sale to neighbors continued to 
grow, along with maritime leaf commerce. While 
the colonial courts closed their eyes to the circum- 
vention of His Majesty's duty on Virginia tobacco, 
they were keen to enforce the embargo on trade 
with the Dutch of Nieuw Amsterdam. One Captain 
John Manning was tried in 1654 on a charge of 
supplying the Dutch with provisions, having deliv- 
ered at "Munnadoes" (Manhattan) "thirty-six 
hogsheads of tobacco the one time and thirty-five 
the other," having been "two time at Verginia since 
he came from Boston." And although the New 
England magistrates were in theory against tobacco 
consumption, they recognized its importance' as a 
home industry needing protection. In 1662 the 

Hartford court held "that whenever Tobacco is 
landed in this Colony" the master of the vessel or 
merchant importer should pay the custom master 
of the port twenty-five shillings per hogshead. In 
1680 the Connecticut Governor reported: "We 
have no need of Virginia trade most people plant- 
ing so much Tobacco as they spend." 

Voyages from the valley 

After 1700 the New England tobacco crop, con- 
centrated in the Connecticut River valley around 
the original River Towns of Windsor, Hartford and 
Wethersfield, increased beyond home consumption 
needs. On a small scale, tobacco grown in New Eng- 
land began to appear in the cargoes of merchant 
ships built in New England. Tobacco was exported 
from Wethersfield to the West Indies as early as 
1704. A brigantine built at Windsor in 1749 showed 


10,296 pounds of tobacco in 27 casks on her bill of 
lading for a 1750 voyage to the West Indies. Thirty 
casks of tobacco weighing 12,664 pounds were 
shipped in the brigantine Olive to Barbados in 
1751, and a similar amount to the same destination 
the following year. The Ellsworth family of Wind- 
sor sold 26,000 pounds of tobacco pressed into ship- 
ping casks to one Captain Ebenezer Grant in 1752. 
These amounts were piddling, and the brigantines 
and schooners insignificant when compared to the 
heavily-laden ships of the Virginia tobacco fleet. 
Selling Connecticut tobacco in the West Indies was 
lilze carrying coals to Newcastle, for the Spanish 
Empire, still a mighty maritime power, controlled 
almost every West Indian source of choice cigar 
leaf. From the rich vegas or bottomlands of Cuba, 
bathed all year in warm, moist air, they could take 
two plantings of aromatic leaf for every single crop 
of fiery shoestring grown in the short Connecticut 
summer; but the smallest chance for gain was 
worth a Yankee try. 

To preserve even this modest trade the tobacco 
towns along the Connecticut River instituted a 
rigorous inspection procedure in 1753, only twenty- 
three years after the tidewater planters took the 
same step. Experts were designated as "surveyors 
and packers" of tobacco, with power to discard 
poor and damaged tobacco from all export ship- 
ments. ( No planter was permitted to pack or press 
his own leaf. ) Even in a commodity which reached 
a production peak of only 20,000 pounds in 1801, 
quality control was important to maintain demand 

Apparently, Yankee specialization was success- 
ful even on this limited scale : in 1825 a warehouse 
was built expressly to handle tobacco exports, five 
miles north of Windsor on the Connecticut River 
at a spot still called Warehouse Point. 

Havanas via donkeys 

With its short growing season — 90 days in the 
year for tobacco— New England could not hope to 

New England cigars, made from coarse" shoe-string" trade. Farmers kept small tobacco patches, rolled 
tobacco, were part of the Yankee pedlars stock in cigars to smoke or exchange for store merchandise. 


Shoe-string leaf was also grown in Pennsylvania's or chew. These became known as "stogies" from the 
York and Lancaster counties, was rolled into long, name of the town where covered wagons were made 
sweetened cigars that teamsters could either smoke —Conestoga. Thus,stogie soonmeantany cheapcigar . 

export agriculture produce in any quantity. Manu- 
facturing, however, was something else again. And 
in 1762 an American army officer provided a new 
impetus. General Israel Putnam, who had served 
with the British forces in the capture of Cuba, 
brought three donkey-loads of Havana cigars with 
him on his return to Connecticut. 

Putnam, a "rough, fiery genius" who was later 
to become the hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill, was 
perhaps the leading citizen of Connecticut before 
the Revolution. Typical was his response to a per- 
sonal challenge sent him by a British officer during 
the French and Indian War. Bent on a duel, the 
Britisher found Old Put seated on a keg puffing 
away at his pipe. "I have never been good at firing 
pistols," said Putnam; "If we fight with them, you 
will have an unfair advantage. Here is a powder 
keg. I have bored a hole and inserted a small fuse 

in it. So if you will be good enough to sit down, I 
will light the fuse, and he who dares sit the longest 
shall be called the bravest." When the flame was 
an inch from the keg, the Englishman retreated at 
full speed. Putnam's triumph was sweetened by the 
fact that the keg contained not powder, but onions. 
It is no wonder that the smoking habits of such a 
dyed-in-the-wool Yankee commanded attention. 

However, the sudden interest in cigars which 
sprang up was not entirely due to "Old Put's" im- 
portation. Germany, inspired by the cigar products 
of Seville, generated a demand for the brown roll 
and during the American Revolution "tobacco 
sticks" were being made in Rome. As in previous 
centuries, the mariners who called at New England 
ports undoubtedly helped to popularize the revived 

At any rate, the cigar gathered new converts in 


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Long nines and short sixes were terms for ordinary as "Half Spanish." (Typical 10c cigar today still 
cigars of common leaf. Good cigars were those made uses Havana in filler.) Clear Havanas, made wholly 
at least partly from Havana leaf; these were sold of Cuban leaf, were too expensive for mass market. 

the homemade tobacco trade of New England. 
Farmers rolled their own, using the leaf they grew 
themselves. Unbranded and crudely put together, 
they nevertheless became part of the Yankee ped- 
lar's stock in trade. Homemade "torpedoes" were 
packed in barrels by the farmers or by storekeepers 
who took them in trade, and shipped to the ports 
for the sailor market. Many a New England tavern 
had its cigar barrel and gave away "free" smokes 
to their patrons. Actually, few beside the sailors 
would buy them. 

Shoestring and stogies 

Around the time of the Revolution cigar manu- 
factories took hold in New York City and Philadel- 
phia. At Conestoga, Pennsylvania, which gave its 
name to the covered wagons or "prairie schooners" 
which were beginning to open up the West, long 

slender cigars were made of so-called "shoe-string 
tobacco." This was the narrow-leaved, coarse vari- 
ety grown in York and Lancaster counties as well 
as in the Connecticut Valley. Conestoga cigars or 
"stogies" came to be the accepted term for cheap 
cigars (although the Lancaster area was later to 
grow a type of cigar leaf much superior to "shoe- 
string"). In New Orleans "Spanish" cigars were 
being made in 1800 — probably the equivalent of 
-the "clear Havana" cigars now made in Tampa, 
Trenton and Philadelphia from Cuban leaf. Begin- 
ning shortly after the turn of the nineteenth century 
Cuban cigars were imported through New York 
and Philadelphia, and in 1810 a SufBeld, Connecti- 
cut, cigar manufacturer imported a Cuban cigar- 
roller to teach his skill to American workers. Cigar 
factories became quite numerous; since all the work 
was done by hand, a large number of small factories 


rather than a few large establishments prevailed 
until machinery was introduced a century later. As 
the industry took hold, branded goods slowly super- 
seded the former homemade product. The work- 
manship was not, at first, outstanding: an early 
New England brown roll carried the brand name 
of Paste Segars, descriptive of the method of fasten- 
ing the outside wrapper to the filler. The best known 
brand of this era was Windsor Particulars. Long 
nines were pencil-thin; short sixes not so long; 
supers were finished off with a twist. Short sixes 
became a fixture in the taverns, and were the earli- 
est "twofers" (two for a cent). Even at that early 
date, when tastes for cigars were presumably not 
too refined, a variant edged into the market at twice 

the price of twofers. This was known as "half Span- 
ish"; whether it contained 50% Cuban leaf is con- 
jectural, but it did foreshadow today's common 
cigar, which typically comprises a Connecticut 
wrapper, an inner wrapping or "binder" of Wiscon- 
sin or Pennsylvania or Connecticut leaf, and a filler 
including some Havana. The practice of using 
Cuban leaf, whether for wrapper or filler, grew 
quickly. "Clear Havanas" made of Cuban tobacco 
only were first manufactured in this country in the 
1840s, and retailed at four or five times the price of 
domestic cigars. In the next decade "half Spanish" 
became literally true for the industry as a whole: 
the amount of Cuban leaf imported — mostly 
through New York City — was about equal to the 

California was opened up by clipper ships like the England sailors with West Indies and later voyages 
Flying Cloud out of Boston. Early contacts of New to California beginning with the gold rush of 1849 


imount grown in all of New England. 

Two factors contributed to this change in the raw 
material mix: the growth of cities, industry, and 
transportation, fostering a more discriminating 
palate in the average smoker; and the specialization 
)f Connecticut leaf. As cigar production grew and 
:he fuselike qualities of shoestring leaf became 
nore evident, an East Windsor planter experi- 
nented with Maryland seed. The smooth, broad 
leaf this yielded (in 1830) made a more attractive 
wrapper than the narrow shoestring. Since the visi- 
ble wrapper is what "sells the cigar," a demand 
grew up for the new "Connecticut broad leaf," still 
grown today. Shoestring was quickly abandoned. 
Some features of the Cuban leaf-cure, which had 

furthered Yankee interest in cigars as trade goods. 
Native Calif ornios smoked cigars almost constantly. 

evolved over three hundred years, were also applied 
to Connecticut tobacco, notably the practice of fer- 
menting the leaf in bulk. The improvement contrib- 
uted greatly to the rise of the cigar, New England 
production increasing from 540,000 pounds in 1830 
to 9,300,000 pounds in 1859. Other factors played 
their part — the plentiful supply of hand labor as 
the tide of European immigrants increased, and the 
Mexican War of 1846-47, from which soldiers re- 
turned with an admiration for cigars. California, 
annexed in 1848 and teeming with American pros- 
pectors the following year, was an eager cigar mar- 
ket; the new arrivals took readily to the old Mexi- 
can-Spanish custom practised by the Calif ornios. 
Yankee clipper ships were quick to take advantage 
of the lucrative supply trade from Boston and New 
York around the Horn to San Francisco. Beginning 
with Israel Putnam's return in 1762, each succeed- 
ing contact with the Spanish furthered the concept 
of the cigar as an aristocratic luxury. 

Actually, before 1870 or so, almost any kind of 
factory tobacco product was more or less an aristo- 
cratic luxury. Before the industrial surge of the 
postbellum years, a good deal of retail exchanging 
was in kind — cash was not spent even on cheap 
cigars or plug if homegrown leaf could be had. 
Every farmhouse had its tobacco patch, big or 
small according to the size of the family — all of 
whom chewed or smoked. For this reason statistics 
on tobacco consumption before 1870, sparse as they 
are, do not describe the actual extent of chewing 
and smoking by Americans but only indicate the 
very slow growth of manufacturing. 

There was another good reason why the manu- 
factured article did not catch on quickly — the leaf 
of which it was made was scarcely different from 
"long green" fresh from the barn. Virginia turned 
out dark, strong shipping leaf; New England grew 
the harsh, narrow-leaved "shoestring"; and the Mid- 
west shipped a leathery Red Burley. There was no 
blending to speak of, and very little in the way of 
"value added by manufacture." 

A third reason for the failure of consumption to 
keep pace with population growth was the "manci- 
pation" of women shortly before the War Between 
the States. (The "emancipation" did not come until 
the turn of the century. ) The ladies of colonial New 
England were said to "smoke in bed, smoke as they 
knead their bread, smoke whilst they're cooking." 


John Quincy Adams, one of the Boston Adamses and 
also the sixth President, was a noted connoisseur 
of Havana cigars, made the brown roll "proper" for 

Bostonians. What Adams did for New Englanders, 
the inveterate cigar-puffer Ulysses S. Grant was later 
to do for smokers of the United States as a whole. 

During the antebellum days, women smoked pipes 
or chewed just as their menfolk did. Mrs. Andrew 
Jackson and Mrs. Za chary Taylor smoked pipes 
while they lived in the White House without being 
thought bumpkins. But as the nineteenth century 
passed the halfway point, city manners and the 
romantic notion of womankind as fragile flowers 
came in, and women's pipes went out. 

Still another factor in the tobacco equation were 
the immigrants from Europe who swelled the popu- 
lation but did not add greatly to the market for 
ready-made tobacco. Many, at first, were too poor 
to buy smokum or quid. Those who passed on 
through the port cities could obtain or grow "hill- 
side navy" so much better than the manufactured 
product of Germany or Holland that there was no 
point in buying factory twist. When the urge to 
splurge came on, the ordinary man might buy a 
cigar or two as a special treat. Even so, he was not 

likely to derive any special taste thrill; chances 
were his hard roll of shoestring had to be soaked 
in rum or wine to make it halfway palatable. 

The day of the Spanish cigar 

The growth of American demand for cigars can 
fairly be said to reflect, at least in part, events in 
Europe. In 1814 British forces engaged the French 
in Spain, at that time, with Portugal, the only major 
smoking-ground for the cigar. As a result of this 
European round-robin on the Iberian pennisula, 
both French and British revived the simple tobacco 
cylinder which was the mode first observed by 
Columbus in 1492. It required no great length of 
time to demonstrate to the British that Spain con- 
trolled all the acceptable cigar leaf. Imported 
Havanas (or Sevillas), virtually unknown in the 
tight little isle in 1826, weighed in at a quarter of 
a million pounds in 1830. In the next few decades 


the after-dinner cigar established itself in English 
and French salons, smoking rooms featured every 
gentleman's club, and smoking cars were intro- 
duced on European and British railroads. The 
influence of this vogue on Americans, just begin- 
ning to be citified and, in the narrow sense, "civil- 
ized," can hardly be overlooked. For New Engend- 
ers, the example of John Quincy Adams symbolized 
and spearheaded the trend toward cigars. Adams, 
son of the second President and the sixth President 
himself, was a prominent connoisseur of imported 
Havanas, and no family was more prominent or 
quintessentially New England than the Adamses 
of Boston. So many Bostonians flourished brown 
rolls with joyously glowing tips that the city fathers 
eventually confined them to the "Smoking Circle" 
on Boston Common. What the younger Adams did 
for the Yankees, the cigar-puffing General Grant 
was to do for the nation's smokers generally. 

While John Quincy Adams was still in the White 
House ( 1825-29 ) , Connecticut seedleaf was known 
as "American tobacco" and cigars made from it as 

"American cigars." Wrappers of a cinnamon red 
color were preferred, the choicest being a white- 
specked mahogany leaf known as "cinnamon 
blotch." Unlike the Spanish cigar, traditionally 
boxed in cedar, the New England product was 
packed in chestnut containers. Even at that early 
date, however, it was clear that the American cigar 
could not be fully differentiated from the Spanish 
and still rival the latter 's smoking qualities. Refer- 
ences are made to the use of Havana leaf as a wrap- 
per or filler and even to the use of grated Spanish 
bean to finish off a box of New England brown rolls. 
Although the cigar is thought of as an appurte- 
nance of the gas-lit decades after the Civil War, it 
did not spring suddenly to life between the lips of 
Ulysses S. Grant. Smoking customs rarely do. Like 
twist, like the later pipe and cigarette, like tobacco 
itself, the cigar started out as a new-fangled inven- 
tion, a novelty. It lingered on the fringe of smokers' 
consciousness for fifty years (1762-1810) and took 
another fifty years ( 1810-1860) to develop momen- 
tum as an accepted form. For still another fifty 


So many Bostonians flourished brown rolls during fathers set apart a special area for cigar smokers on 
the years just before the Civil War that the city tree-shaded Boston Common— the Smoking Circle. 


years cigars reigned supreme, reaching their peak 
in 1907; thereafter they fell off gently to the status 
of a secondary form. 

Yankee heyday 

Of these three phases of cigar development, New 
England dominated the first two. Lest the word 
"dominate" be misinterpreted, it should be added 
that Yankee leaf production never ran to really sub- 
stantial weight compared with the tidewater ton- 
nage. The first phase ending in 1810, marked by the 
home-rolled torpedo, the town packer and the two- 
dozen-hogshead shipment to the West Indies, is of 
historical rather than economic importance. As has 
been pointed out, the Connecticut Valley crop of 
1801— the largest up to that year— amounted in 
toto to a mere score of hogsheads. 

The second phase, the Yankee heyday, is of lim- 
ited interest even to the tobacco historian. New 
England's leaf output in 1849 totaled about 
1,400,000 pounds. This figure is much less impres- 
sive than it reads when it is recalled that it was 
reached more than two centuries earlier by a few 

tobacco planters along the James River only fifteen 
years after they began hacking their clearings out 
of a virgin wilderness. It was not until the eve of 
the War Between the States that the Yankee crop 
achieved the semi-significant level of 10,000,000 
pounds a year (a level it rarely exceeded through 
1900). But by the time New England had gener- 
ated real momentum for cigar leaf production and 
cigar manufacture — 1860 or thereabouts — the 
brown roll ceased to be Yankee property. In 1860 
as much cigar leaf was grown in Pennsylvania and 
Ohio as in New England, although commercial 
seed-leaf production did not begin until 1828 and 
1838 in the Keystone and Buckeye states respec- 
tively. Twenty years later the Ohio cigar leaf crop 
equaled New England's, and the Pennsylvania crop 
doubled the Yankee output. 

The third phase, or postbellum era, was actually 
a national phase not only in cigars but in many 
other lines of consumer products. The regional 
product and provincial tastes and customs were be- 
ginning to yield to nationwide standards; the up- 
heaval of civil war, the inrush of immigrants, the 














Manufactured tobacco consumed by Americans (red between 1800 and 1870, when much of it was grown 
line) lagged behind growth of national population at home and used in home made products. From 1870 


lure of fresh land and mineral wealth in the West 
were fusing a nation out of what had been a federa- 
tion of separate regions. 

So despite the limits climate and soil place on the 
production of leaf tobacco, many states tried their 
hand— Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, In- 

diana, New York and even Florida entered the 
seed-leaf ( cigar ) culture, and the growth of chew- 
ing and pipe leaf spread to Ohio, Kentucky, Ten- 
nessee, Missouri and even as far as the northwest 
corner of Arkansas bordering on the Indian Terri- 
tory ( now Oklahoma ) . 














through 1929 consumption roughly followed curve during the 1930s and gained faster than the pop- 
of population increase (black line), fell off the pace ulation during World War II and the Korean War. 


- *- 

Seville, worlds -first great tobacco manufacturing 
center, made finest cigars. The king of Spain 
rigidly controlled leaf culture in his colonies, 

prohibited export except to Seville. Cigar rollers 
of that city worked with the best of all tobaccos; 
"Spanish" became a magic word in the tobacco trade. 

Manufacturing, of course, was not limited as was 
agriculture. By 1880 there was not a single state or 
territory, except for Montana and Idaho, which 
lacked its own cigar factories. Most also boasted 
plug and pipe tobacco manufacture as well, includ- 
ing even such a sparsely settled place as Arizona. 

This explosive spread of manufacturing was a re- 
flection of greatly intensified demand for manufac- 
tured items—that is, for better goods. Any old scrap 
of baccy rolled into a cheroot or crammed into a 
pipe would no longer do. Discrimination was set- 
ting in. The next step, the nationally advertised 
brand of uniform and dependable quality, was 

Cigars were to be last among all tobacco prod- 
ucts to evolve truly national brands, despite the 
early appearance of Windsor Particulars (before 

1820 ) . But cigars were probably the first American 
tobacco product to generate a clearcut quality dis- 
tinction, that between domestic and "Spanish" 
rolls. During the years before the Civil War, pipe 
tobacco was pipe tobacco and chew was chew. But 
every cigar smoker knew the difference between a 
paste segar or stogie and the lordly clear Havana. 
Moreover, he could taste the difference for himself 
in spite of the rather loose use of terms like "Span- 
ish" and "Havana" by certain makers of domestic 
cigars. And the difference was firmly fixed in the 
minds of the smoking public well before Sumter, a 
clear indication that by then the brown roll had 

Thus the rise of the cigar as a national habit came 
during the first half of the nineteenth century, more 
or less coinciding with the rise of chew or "fudgeon" 


as the Yankees called it. Smoking — as distinct from 
chewing — was therefore never absent from the 
American scene. The cigar forms the bridge be- 
tween the calumets and clays of colonial times and 
the twentieth-century briar pipe and cigarette. 
Since many brown rolls were homemade, there is 
no statistical record of the domestic cigar's ascend- 
ancy before the War Between the States. But an 
idea of its rise can be inferred from the figures on 
cigar imports. These amounted to 4,000,000 or so 
in 1804, 24,000,000 in 1810; 14,000,000 in 1816 (re- 
flecting the disruption of overseas trade caused by 
the second War of Independence with Britain, 
largely a sea war); 24,000,000 in 1830; 74,000,000 
in 1840; 124,000,000 in 1850; and 460,000,000 in 
1861. Many if not most of these imports were 
Havanas, a significant fact in an era when hard 
cash was hard to come by. 

However the imports of finished cigars, which 
may have accounted for as much as a third of fac- 

tory-rolled consumption in a given antebellum year, 
do not tell the whole story. Of equal "import" were 
the purchases of Havana leaf for use in U. S. cigar 
establishments, a preferred procedure owing to the 
lower duty on bulk leaf as compared with that on 
manufactured cigars. 

Even the Yankees with their "make do at home" 
attitude had to admit that Spanish tobacco — i.e., 
Cuban leaf — was an essential ingredient of good 
cigars. This marriage between Yankee and Havana 
leaf was expressed in two ways: first, Havana leaf 
was used as a filler enclosed by an outer wrapper 
of smooth New England broadleaf; and second, 
virtually every New England cigar brand with any 
pretension of quality carried a Spanish box-mark or 
"top iron"— La Gloria de la Habana, El Buen Fuego, 
La Rosa de Santiago, and so forth. The use of Span- 
ish verbiage led to some strange brand names, like 
La Flor de Chas. F. Kurtz, made in Millville, New 
Jersey, and Velocipede Vuelta Abajo Havanas, 

Beginning around 1800, U.S. demand for Cuban- 
made cigars — the same as "Spanish" — steadily 
increased. Shapes or "front-marks" were designated 
by Spanish words Londres, Regalias, Coronas, etc. 

In 1861 cigar imports numbered half a billion. An 
equivalent weight of Havana leaf was imported by 
U.S. factories for use in domestic cigars. Guests 
at fine hotels lit Havanas with gas cigar lighter. 




(C<c ^ -^ DJajuirBi; Tirgas -)) ) 

i>i: la ^tt:lta aba jo. 

K A J2 A 

Despite obviously American brand name, Velocipede 
cigar trademark paid label service to the renown 
of Havana leaf. Everything about the cigar except 
the brand name, the label seems to say, is Spanish. 

Yankee ingenuity outdid itself in this unique box 
which disguised five-cent cigars as cheese. Brand 
name was "Cheese It." Head label was inspired by 
Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, "HM.S. Pinafore." 

made in Detroit. ( It should be mentioned that the 
Havana leaf content of some of these brands, like 
the actual raw material of Connecticut's wooden 
nutmegs, was highly questionable.) 

Cubans and commons 

Over the years it has become fairly well estab- 
lished that Havana leaf is the sine qua non of a good 
cigar, and most of today's big-volume ten-centers 
include some of it in their fillers. (In 1957 a trade 
magazine, applauding a reduction of tariff on im- 
ported Cuban leaf, declared: "An abundant supply 
of reasonably priced Havana tobacco is essential 
for a prosperous American cigar industry.") Never- 
theless, a good proportion of nineteenth-century 
cigars were made without it. At the bottom of the 
scale was the cheroot, a long and untapered roll of 

non-blended tobacco — the kind of simple cylinder 
made by the Maya or the Tupinambas of Brazil. It 
was recommended, of course, largely by its cheap- 
ness. The stogie was a foot long, tapered to a mouth- 
piece at one end, made of domestic leaf, and some- 
times sweetened with molasses. This last rendered 
the stogie or toby a two-way item especially useful 
for travelers; it could be chewed as well as ignited. 
What constitutes a "good" common cigar (as dis- 
tinct from Havanas or "fine" cigars) has changed 
considerably over the years. The brown rolls 
smoked by the Carib Indians Columbus saw were, 
to judge by the early prints, about the size of a 
policeman's nightstick, twisted rather than rolled. 
They looked like firebrands and, made of unblended 
Nicotiana rustica, tasted like them too. The cheroot, 
as rolled in the East Indies, was closer in size and 


shape to the modern cigar, although still unblended. 

Before broadleaf was grown along the Connecti- 
cut, the standard cigar had a filler of dark shoe- 
string, no binder, and the cinnamon blotch wrapper 
speckled in white. Some Philadelphia firms sur- 
rounded dark domestic filler with a smooth Havana 
wrapper and advertised the result as "Spanish." 
They did not much resemble true Havanas. Fit for 
a king's taste and fit for a royal purse, real Havanas 
were accordingly named Regalias, Coronas, Kings, 
and the like. 

After the War Between the States, domestic 
cigars underwent radical changes. The broadleaf 
wrapper became a binder. A lighter, more bland 
wrapper was added — first Sumatra, later Connect- 

icut shadegrown. Shoestring was replaced by 
more savory filler leaf from Pennsylvania or New 
England. Havana leaf was used in the "bunch" or 
filler rather than on the outside. The availability 
of four or more distinctly different types of leaf 
made blending possible, and the various brands 
took on distinctive smoking characteristics. 

The cigar proper — contrasted with cheroot, toby 
or black Italian "tobacco stick" — has an outer 
wrapper, an inner binder, and a filler blended from 
two or more types of leaf. Since these must be 
selected and put together by hand, even where the 
actual rolling is done by machine the cigar is by 
definition a "custom-made" item. The better grades 
of domestic cigars include some proportion of 

Cigar demand grew spectacularly during last half 
of the nineteenth century. Average price between 
1870 and 1880 was 3c: the "Trade" brand sold at 

wholesale for 1.2c, retailed at two for a nickel. 
In 1860, 29c of every tobacco dollar was spent on 
cigars; in 1870, 45c; in 1880, 54c; in 1900, 60c. 


? 1 t* 

wt jKj 9 



' ?: ^ m 



i ■■ 



^ i 

Ritual of curing and processing fine cigar-leaf is a For centuries, bales of Havana cigar leaf traveled 
Cuban development. First hung up for a barn cure, by donkey from farm to warehouse to ship. Donkeys 
tobacco is then piled and ferments in its own heat, are now gone but bark-tied bales remain the same. 

Havana, the term "clear Havana" being reserved 
for cigars made in the U. S. using Cuban leaf only. 
At the top of the scale (and bearing the highest 
import duty) is the Cuban-made tabaco rolled in 
Havana from leaf grown in the renowned Vuelta 

The Vuelta Abajo 

This crook of Cuba west of Havana and nearest 
the United States — the name Vuelta Abajo means 
"down turn" — grows a fragrant, rich leaf which 
neither Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Su- 
matra, Jamaica nor Puerto Rico can imitate, al- 
though all have tried. In the Vuelta province of 
Pinar del Rio, brown soil, bright sun and heavy 
humidity are uniquely suited to cigar leaf. Tradi- 
tions of cultivation, bred by centuries of Spanish 
rule, play a ritualistic part. Tobacco seedlings are 
grown in special beds, transplanted to the fields 
when they are six inches high. As in the United 
States, sucker leaves and flower buds are removed 
as the plant grows, forcing all the strength into the 
leaves. In two months of continual hoeing, irrigat- 
ing and fertilizing, the stalks reach man's height; a 
Cuban veguero, like his American Indian counter- 
part, must be "a father to his tobacco." 

The leaves are hung for a barn cure, piled to fer- 
ment in their own heat, then sorted into different 
grades each requiring a different length of curing 
in bale — anywhere from six months to three years. 
After this, the leaf gets a barrel cure or barbacoa 

Bale cure lasts anywhere from six months to three 
years. Experts inspect tobacco periodically, often 
roll and smoke a sample cigar to test baled leaf. 

Barrel cure or barbacoa is final cure, lasts six 
months. While in barrel, tobacco undergoes still 
more chemical changes, effected by its own heat. 


Customs duty on imported leaf is less than that on Hand-rolling of cigars is still the law in Cuba, 
finished cigars. Cigars "manufactured in bond'* are, Most American factories use machines, which yield 
in effect, certified by U. S. Customs as all Havana, a better result in all but the very largest sizes. 

lasting about six months. Then, ready for manu- 
facture, the precious brown and tan leaves are 
packed in exotic bales made of stiff Royal Palm 
leaves tied with majagua bark rope. The basic pat- 
tern goes on year after year, changing but little. As 
demand in the United States shifted from the 
natural brown or Colorado wrapper to a light green 
or claw, special methods to increase production of 
light-colored wrapper leaf were introduced: shade 
growing under cloth, forced-heat curing. 

Until World War II, donkeys carried the palm- 
leaf bales to merchant ships for export — descend- 
ents, possibly, of the same donkeys which carried 
out Israel Putnam's three loads of Havanas. The 
best of the Vueltabajo leaf is now manufactured 
into cigars in the U. S. under bond, the retail pack- 
age bearing a white U. S. customs stamp to certify 
that it is all "Spanish." A good part of the rest of 
Cuba's crop is shipped to U. S. factories for use as 
filler, or to the clear Havana cigar factories in 
> Tampa, most of which do not manufacture in bond. 

The art of cigar manuf acture is threefold : blend- 
ing, rolling and packing. Since the strength of the 
1 delivered smoke varies with the diameter of the roll, 
thick cigars or perfectos require a different combi- 
| nation of heavy, medium and light leaves than the 
I long, thin premiers or fancy tales. The factory fore- 
I man who apportions the leaf to the bunchers is the 
key to blending. Hand-rolling, a virtually lost art 
in the United States after machine-rolling was per- 
fected in the 1920s, has been perpetuated by law 

Precision of manufacture is important, since the 
dimensions of a cigar influence taste. Different 
shapes therefore require different leaf Mendings. 

X l> ^. 4 

^8 'i t » '^te 





Traditional pride in craft is carried right down 
to boxing: cigars are color-sorted before being 
packaged. Skilled selectors distinguish 70 shades. 


in Cuba. Selection of cigars by shade of wrapper is 
a specialty all in itself; in a well-packed. box each 
individual cigar is almost indistinguishable in hue 
from the next, although skilled selectors can distin- 
guish 70 shades of tobacco. 

This proud, measured progression from one step 
to the next — working the tobaccos "in their time" 
— results in an expensive product. In 1956, no more 
than one out of every fifty cigars bought in the U. S. 
followed the classic Havana pattern of growth, cure 
and manufacture. Before the Civil War, the propor- 
tion was closer to one in ten. But the field and barn 
rituals of little Pinar del Rio formed the model for 
imitation by New England tillers, just as the blend- 
mastery of the palace-like Havana factories formed 
the model for the 20,000 cigar establishments scat- 
tered through the United States in 1900. It has 
never been possible to assess the cigar's importance 
solely in terms of units or poundage of leaf, still less 


possible to put a statistical yardstick on the place 
of the fine, or Havana, cigar. In 1904, leaf used in 
cigar manufacture represented only 27% by weight 
of all the tobacco processed in the U. S. Yet 60c of 
every dollar spent on tobacco products went for 
cigars (chewing and smoking tobacco accounted 
for 33c, cigarettes 5c, snuff 2c ) . 

Havana salt and pepper 

It is strange that the subtle process of transcul- 
turation should so closely interweave people as dif- 
ferent as the Yankees and the Cubans. Yet the 
tobacco culture of New England (and that of 
Pennsylvania too) came to revolve around the 
limited amount of Havana leaf that could be added 
to the fillers of domestic cigars. Normally, the 
Havana component was not used as "long filler" — 
that is, as a whole leaf crushed together with the 
Pennsylvania product inside the binder. Rather, it 






Cigar consumption came into its own just after the sales increased with the U. S. population; during 
Civil War, accounted for 30% of all tobacco used in that period they accounted for a consistent 25% of 
manufacturing in 1880. For the next 40 years cigar leaf used in manufacture. Cigar sales have always 


was chopped up and distributed through the filler 
as H. S. P. (Havana salt and pepper). This per- 
mitted a better blending of the inimitable Havana 
fragrance, and made for more uniformity from one 
cigar to the next. 

At the same time, New England wrapper leaf 
was grown to be as neutral as possible in taste, so 
as to allow the Havana-salted filler to dominate. 
One of the factors that made Sumatra wrapper so 
desirable to manufacturers toward the end of the 
nineteenth century was its utter blandness. Connec- 
ticut shadegrown was and is bred specifically for 
this tasteless quality, although it derives from the 
same seed that produces Havana wrapper, famous 
for its rich taste and the most expensive tobacco 
that can be bought in the U. S. (as high as $15 per 
pound). At that, Connecticut shadegrown is the 
most valuable domestic leaf; its War II ceiling price 
was $7.50. 

As might be deduced from the mounting cigar 
imports of 1810-1860, the interweaving of Cuban 
and U. S. economies was considerable by 1850. In 
that year Cuban trade with this country exceeded, 
commercial traffic between Cuba and Spain. The 
long subjugation of Cuban tobacco to the Casa de 
Contracion de Indias in Seville rankled the Cubans; 
as early as 1831, fifty cigar makers escaped Spanish 
domination to set up shop in Key West. They could 
not take their bottomlands with them, but they 
could escape with their skills. In 1868, at the start 
of the Ten Years' War with Spain, another wave of 
Havana cigar manufacturers fled to Florida. Among 
them were Vincente Ibor, a Spaniard by birth, and 
Eduardo Gato; the cities they founded — Tampa 
and Ibor City — are still major cigar centers. They 
are also monuments to the easily-forgotten fact that 
political freedom is inseparable from economic 
freedom. Like the tidewater planters' resentment 






been particularly sensitive to general level of the all-time peak in unit sales. Over the last ten years 
economy: sharp declines followed the panics of 1893 brown rolls have held steady at around six billion, 
and 1907, and postwar boom year of 1920 established account for about 10% of leaf used in manufacturing. 



Even in the days of the "twofer" (two for a penny) 
cigars were more or less a luxury smoke. The great 
weight of tobacco consumption was in quid and pipe 
form: typical farm woman of 1870s puffed on pipe. 

of mother England, the Cubans' resentment of 
mother Spain eventually burst into a violent war of 
liberation. One scholar claims that fine tobacco is 
produced only by free men (unlike sugar, origi- 
nally distilled from the drudgery of slaves ) . There 
is an element of truth in this philosophical position: 
quality leaf cannot be mass produced, but demands 
constant pampering. Thus fine tobacco growing is 
a middle class occupation, more often than not a 
family tradition, in the U. S. as in Cuba. Sugar, by 
way of contrast, typically produces a proletariat on 
the one hand and great wealth on the other. 

Politics and panetelas 

What was true of the Cuban farmers was also 
true of the cigar-rollers. They were originally home 

craftsmen, free and self-employed, who sold their 
bundles to export dealers; factories with their 
immense rolling-rooms came later. As the word 
Havana gained international fame (becoming more 
widely known than the word Cuba itself), manu- 
facturers aimed for mass production and tried to 
use slaves and even prisoners in their workrooms. 
These attempts were not successful; in the end, 
they had to turn to the free labor market for "cigar- 
tists." Filled with pride in themselves and their 
craft, the cigar-rollers were the free thinkers of 
nineteenth-century Cuba. Out of their own wages 
they paid the readers who occupied their minds 
while their hands were busy shaping cigars in the 
workrooms. These readers were not hired to divert 
or to entertain; the books they read aloud were 
thinkpieces on history, politics, philosophy. This 
simple institution sharpened the political conscious- 
ness of the cigartists, who played a key role in 
throwing off the Spanish imperialists shortly before 
the turn of the century. 

An exact parallel cannot be drawn between the 
nineteenth-century Cubans and their Yankee coun- 
terparts in the cigar business. New England had 
achieved politico-economic freedom while the Pearl 
of the Antilles was still strung on the Spanish neck- 
lace. Yet the sequence, though not simultaneous, 
was the same. On the one hand, civilized men of 
European stock trying to turn new land and new 
resources into a new culture; on the other, the dead 
hand of mercantilism, throttling manufacture and 
banning free export. Neither Yankee leaf nor Yan- 
kee snuff could have become economic mainstays 
in the sense that Virginia leaf was; yet they bridled 
under the same repressive measures and generated 
the same antagonism toward their overseas master. 

The tidewater leaf culture of Virginia and Mary- 
land was actually closer to the Cuban sugar com- 
plex than to the Cuban tobacco craft. With quality 
manufacture largely lacking in Europe and Eng- 
land, the Chesapeake colonies strove mainly for 
quantity. When they produced quality — more or 
less by accident, in the sandy sweetscented parishes 
— there was no market incentive to sustain it. So 
Virginia tobacco, like Cuban sugar, spawned a 
master-and-slave economy. It was only after the 
Revolution and the gradual release of manufactur- 
ing energy in the U. S. that quality of leaf became 
a factor. As this happened, the huge plantations 


During the 1870s the smoking car became a fixture 
on the nations railroads. So widespread was the 
cigar craze during those years that women took to 
the brown roll to some extent. This 1877 woodcut 

in the Illustrated Weekly was captioned: "A lady 
on the C.H.&D.R.R. determines to enjoy her rights 
—she takes her place in a smoking car beside her 
husband, and joins him in puffing a Havana cigar." 

dissolved and small tobacco patches took their 
place, with quality by and large replacing quantity 
as the farmer's incentive. Quality of product was 
not a workable incentive for a master-and-slave 
system; instead it gave rise to individualistic enter- 
prise and thereby led to radical improvements in 
crop and in cure as well as in the arts of manufac- 

From the very first, the limitations of nature pre- 
vented any burgeoning of big plantations in New 
England. The Yankees leafed by their wits, by spe- 
cializing in what the market wanted and by imitat- 
ing as closely as possible the peer of tobacco 
products, the Havana cigar. Only in that way could 
stony New England keep its precarious toehold in 
tobacco. Thus the middle-class Yankees shaped 

their small but dogged leaf industry around the 
precious qualities of Havana filler grown by mid- 
dle-class Cubans. 

Cigar smoking showed its steepest rate of climb 
during and just after the Civil War. Although a 
number of plausible reasons for this can be cited — 
lack of access to the Virginia-North Carolina crop 
for one, the supply of easy money in northern cities 
for another — this accelerated growth probably re- 
flected nothing more complicated than a growing 
taste for the product. Chewing tobacco was still on 
the rise, and by no means in short supply during 
the war. In fact, the diversion of Burley leaf from 
the normal New Orleans outlet to New York City 
made plug manufacture more convenient than ever 
in the heart of the Northern market. 


Mass immigration gave NewYork City a tremendous England states. New York's production was 20% of 
reservoir of labor; by 1880, the city had 14,500 the national total; New England had 5%, and the 
cigar workers as against 2,300 in all of the New original cigar state, Connecticut, was down to 1%. 

Northern roll 

By the thousands, Americans took to the brown 
roll. Cigar making had employed 8,000 hands in 
1860, as against 19,000 in tobacco manufacture; in 
1880 there were 53,000 cigar makers as against 
33,000 employed in chewing and smoking factories. 
It was this final surge that reduced New England 
to a secondary status in cigar manufacture; there 
were simply not enough people available to keep 
up. In 1880, New York City alone had 14,500 
people in its cigar factories; in all of New England's 
503 establishments the number of workers was 
only 2,300. New York State made eight times as 
many cigars as New England's six states; Pennsyl- 
vania twice as many. And such states as California, 
Illinois, and Ohio had as much or more cigar pro- 
duction as the New England states, whose share 
of the U. S. total fell to a mere 5%. 

In all this there was a kind of symbolic division 
of the tobacco industry. No more than a tenth of 
the national cigar output was turned out south of 
the seed-leaf territory of the Northern states. >. In 
spite of efforts in the direction of cigar-making, 

Richmond manufactured barely i/2 of 1% of the 
national total by 1880. During the war of brother 
against brother, Grant against Lee, it was the 
northern cigar on the one side and the flat bright 
plug on the other. And each side missed the other's 
specialty, as the soldier-swaps along the front lines 

City markets, city makers 

Since the largest cities were at once the entre- 
pots of fashion and the ports of entry for cheap 
labor, cigar manufacture soon gravitated to New 
York, Philadelphia and other urban centers. The 
big cities had both concentrated demand and a 
concentrated supply of labor; so cigars were rolled 
on a piecework basis by women in tenements, in- 
stead of by farmers' wives in the New England 
countryside. By 1880 New York City was producing 
more than a fifth of the nation's 2,500,000,000 out- 
put and Connecticut only 1%. Cigar manufacture 
was dispersed even more by the arrival of addi- 
tional Cuban firms in Tampa during the 1890s, 
industrial refugees from the strife-torn Pearl of the 

1 04 

Antilles. Maintaining close ties with sources of 
Cuban leaf, they spewed millions of Havanas — 
both clear and not-so-clear— on the American mar- 
ket. Their production, retailing much cheaper than 
Cuban-made imports size for size, was welcome to 
the American smoker, but was hardly calculated to 
spur the demand for Yankee leaf. 

Nevertheless, cigars became the gay batons of 
a civilization on the march toward wealth and 
comfort. College men discarded their pipes and 
sported Havanas. In 1876, the nation's centennial 
year, Currier & Ives ( "printmakers to the American 
people") depicted Uncle Sam not with chew or 
pipe but puffing on a huge cigar. 

This decade of the 70s showed the greatest rela- 
tive gains for the cigar; in 1870, the brown roll ac- 

counted for 20% of all tobacco used in manufac- 
ture, and in 1880 for 30%. ( For the next forty years, 
cigars were to represent about 25% of all tobacco 
poundage processed in the U. S., a share which 
dwindled to 17% in 1930 and 10% in 1955.) The 
typical cigar of the 70s cost about 3c at retail (vs. 
today's average of 9c ) . Aside from price,- however, 
there was very little about the cigar that was 

Although it was incubated in antebellum New 
England, its manufacture spread to virtually every 
city of any size in the United States. By the end of 
the nineteenth century the number of chewing and 
smoking brands were numbered in the thousands, 
but the number of cigar manufacturers was in the 
thousands. No one tried to publish a complete di- 







History in Vapor. 

In 1876 Currier and Ives, most noted chroniclers of centennial year with a huge cigar. Only in England 
American mores, showed Uncle Sam celebrating the were cigarettes at all popular, as print indicates. 


rectory of cigar manufacturers, let alone a listing 
of cigar brands. 

Personal brand names 

Aside from the use of Spanish words and phrases 
to indicate or suggest Havana leaf, there was one 
tendency in cigar nomenclature that did not appear 
in other tobacco products. For want of a better de- 
scription, this might be called the "great man 
theory" of cigar brand names. Virtually every great 
statesman found his niche in the cigar lexicon, as 
is testified by some of the brands surviving today— 
Henry Clay, Webster, and the like. Famous gen- 
erais and other notables— Anna Held, to cite a suc- 
cessful example in the five-cent class— also lent their 
names, with or without permission. There was, per- 
haps, a touch of logic to the practise: the cigar was 
a symbol of personal affluence during the Gilded 
Age and the Edwardian years. The mighty J. Pier- 
pont Morgan had equally mighty cigars (eight- 
inch Kohinoors at $1.25 apiece) specially rolled for 

his own use, and the financial barons of the house 
of Rothschild also had a private shape— Excepcio- 
nales de Rothschilds. What more logical for a con- 
sumer of lesser estate to console himself with one 
of the many brands allegedly smoked by General 
Grant, or Senator Clay, or Emperor William, or 
King Edward? The twin attributes of royalty and 
Spanishness were combined in a brand name which 
now leads the ten-cent field — -EZ Roi- Tan— although 
the Roi derived from a man named Roy and the 
Tan from his partner named Tannenbaum. 

Perhaps these personal brand names had their 
roots in the Spanish culture, where cigar-rolling 
was a taught skill similar to reading or horseman- 
ship. The ordinary Cuban, the Mexican and the 
early Californio learned how to fashion his own 
cigars as a matter of course; the Spanish grandee, 
like the Morgans of the Gilded Age, had a roller 
fabricate cigars of distinctive shape for him and 
for him alone. An echo of this persists in New York 
City, where a few cigar shops still cater to the 



Ill-chosen brand name, Capaduras, was Cuban term A five cent "segar" when Grant and Hayes were 
for pointed leaves growing from stripped stalks. in office was the equivalent of today's 15c article. 


smoker who likes his Havanas "custom-rolled," per- 
haps with his own name printed on the cellophane 

This, of course, was the exception rather than 
the rule during the Brown Decades as now. The 
trade was personified by the high-hatted, high- 
spirited cigar drummer, almost as magnificent as 
the premiums in his sample case and the gilded and 
embossed decoration of his cigar bands and boxes. 
Even as he distributed his gaudy gimcracks and 
lithographed cards, he was uneasily aware that 
cigarette salesmen were getting their foot in the 
retailer's door using identical inducements. 

The nineteenth-century rise of the cigar, made 
of Northern leaf, was not slowed by the growth of 
cigarettes, made of Southern Bright. National ad- 
vertising was unknown, for there were no national 
brands. But just the same, cigar manufacturers en- 
gaged in "national advertising" of a whispering 
sort: the cigarette contained opium, was made with 
tobacco from discarded butts and paper made by 



3iperior.ffavaaa Cifars of 1fi.eli cstTiiella-al> aj© loliiceeo sis 

fadmrOf Manuel Alvarez Mgares ft C! Compost 


Iabaco^stipikiojBes m ub^am 

de Manuel Alvarez Miiares y C B 

"Great man theory" of cigar brand names made Clay, 
Calhoun and Webster logical cigar-box adornments. 

Him Nellie tyMml I 


Ik Globs was bravely inrttod" 


Smoke the poj&uiaF 


# O. F. RAWSON & CO., MFRS. 

Nellie Bly's 1890 journey around the world, which 
bore no visible relationship to smoking, was used 
nevertheless as subject of a cigar advertisement. 

Chinese lepers, and so forth. In the long run, this 
called attention to the competitive product and 
probably helped rather than hindered its rise. 

There was canny economic wisdom in the 
abruptness with which the New Englanders with- 
drew from competition in cigar manufacture. They 
were quite willing to leave the making of cheap 
cigars — always a low-profit-margin pursuit — to 
others. This did not mean a retreat from the to- 
bacco trade as such. Rather, the Yankees turned 
their attention to filling a particular demand cre- 
ated by the growing popularity of cigars. What- 
ever the filler a given manufacturer uses, he needs 
an attractive and smooth wrapper leaf to make his 
cigar sell; and no matter how choice his wrapper, 


Wrapper leaf is carefully hung up in barn for air cure. 
Despite competition from Cuban and Sumatran 

wrappers, and despite short summer season, Yankee 
planters have evolved a highly satisfactory leaf. 

he needs a strong, elastic binder leaf to keep the 
filler from wrinkling or puncturing it. It was to 
these requirements that the perceptive New Eng- 
enders addressed themselves, supplementing the 
Maryland or Connecticut broadleaf binder with 
Havana seedleaf and, later, cultivating the delicate 
and high-priced shadegrown wrapper. 

Seed and soil 

Without minimizing the part played by Yankee 
energy and enterprise, the specialized wrapper- 
and-binder agriculture of the Connecticut Valley is 
a classic illustration of the part played by geogra- 
phy in tobacco evolution. Although the Valley 
farms were planted with Virginia seed around 
1640, the tobacco they yielded gave rise to home- 
made cigars. In 1830, the cultivation of Maryland 

broadleaf along the river produced a successful 
wrapper for cigars, although the same seed planted 
in Maryland gave rise to a different leaf useful at 
first in manufactured tobacco and later as a ciga- 
rette ingredient. To put it in reverse, the Connec- 
ticut broadleaf was not suitable for non-cigar use; 
in the same way, the aborigines of Central America 
who first found and cultivated Nicotiana tabacum 
used it in cigars rather than in pipes, although 
the pipe was the most widespread form of tobacco 
consumption throughout pre-Columbian America. 

Regional classifications of tobacco are thus not 
interchangeable. Connecticut turns out cigar leaf 
whether from Virginia, Maryland or Havana seed. 
The differentiation can be carried further : the New 
England types were useful as binder ( Connecticut 
broadleaf, Havana seed ) and wrapper ( Connecticut 


Slatted barn for air cure is used in Burley areas region. In addition to smooth wrapper, neutral in 
of Kentucky as well as in Connecticut cigar leaf taste, New England grows a strong, elastic binder. 

shadegrown ) , but the Pennsylvania and Ohio crops 
were used mainly as fillers. ( Currently, the develop- 
ment of reconstituted binder sheet is erasing the 
distinction between filler and binder leaf. ) Wiscon- 
sin, Florida and Georgia were specifically suited 
to the growing of binder leaf while the inland val- 
leys of Puerto Rico produced filler leaf. Many of 
the Ohio filler types were used as short-filler or 
"grinders" for less expensive cigars. Soil and cli- 
mate, no less than human enterprise or the lack of 
it, place definite limitations on the tobacco tradi- 
tion of a given region. 

In general, cigar leaf is air-cured. However, in 
an effort to starve the leaf into a light, bright color 
for American smokers, increasing quantities of 
Cuban-grown wrapper are force-cured with the 
application of high temperatures. This practise is 

somewhat parallel to flue-curing Virginia and Caro- 
lina tobacco of smoking and cigarette grades. 
Sudden application of heat lightens the tobacco, a 
result first prompted by the market demand for 
yellow, "colory" plug wrappers. Flue-cured Bright 
leaf is one of two major classes of tobacco now 
used in cigarettes; the other class, Burley, grown 
mainly in Kentucky and Tennessee, is air-cured like 
cigar leaf. Most air curing is" done under shelter, 
but one type of Virginia chewing leaf, as well as 
most Turkish tobacco, is sun-cured. 

In addition to flue-curing, which applies heat 
without smoke, and the more natural air-curing, 
some tobaccos are smoked or fire-cured like smoked 
ham. Smoked leaf is used in "eatin' tobacco," that is, 
quid and snuff. ( The latter is no longer sniffed but 
is held in the mouth without chewing. ) Fire-cured 

J 09 

Although actual rolling is mechanized, much hand "bunch" or filler. Blending of these according to 
work is needed to make long-filler cigars. Whole the shape of the cigar is vital to flavor. Above, 
leaves— three or four— are twisted together in the imported filler is sorted by type, strength, size. 

leaf is also an export specialty: the historic origin 
of fire-curing was as a preservative process, and 
much American leaf grown for export, even well 
into the twentieth century, was of the smoked va- 
riety. Fire-curing played no role in the Connecticut 
Valley, partly because the valley crop has been a 
low-volume one which never developed a large ex- 
portable surplus, partly because Yankee growers 
have "babied" their plants in an effort to compete 
with the costly Cuban leaf. 

Despite the excellent burning quality and aroma 
of Connecticut broadleaf, the influence of fashion 
reduced the demand for it as a wrapper after 1859, 
and it did not recover to that year's peak until 1879. 
The Spanish like their cigar wrappers dark (Colo- 
rado or maduro ) and the light-colored Connecticut 
leaf temporarily lost out to the dark brown variety 
raised in Pennsylvania. The Miami Valley in Ohio 
also became a competitive source of cigar leaf, as 
did Wisconsin. New England acreage seeded to 
tobacco shrunk by a third, while the Valley plant- 
ers tried vainly to recapture their market by dark- 
ening leaf with licorice. In 1880 fashion swung to 
the opposite extreme with the importation of Su- 
matra leaf, light in color (claro) and so "light" in 

body as to be almost tasteless. (Economics also 
figured here : a pound of thin Sumatra would wrap 
many more cigars than a pound of domestic wrap- 
per leaf.) Again the Connecticut growers were 
caught in the middle, and in spite of high tariffs 
levied on the Sumatra product, cultivated acreage 
fell off, although poundage remained at a constant 
level — around 10,000,000 pounds a year — until 
1899. New England ingenuity met this new threat 
with still another variety — shadegrown wrapper 
grown from Cuban seed. Filtering the sunlight 
striking the growing leaf makes it thinner in body 
and lighter in color. 

Connecticut shadegrown stimulated the final 
spurt in New England tobacco production, from 
the 10,000,000 pound level of the 90s to nearly 
45,000,000 pounds in 1921. Shadegrown, compris- 
ing about a fourth of the New England crop, is a 
highly specialized product, and comes as close as 
nature will allow to the luxurious wrapper grown 
in Cuba. Shadegrown is now, however, the most 
expensive tobacco grown in the United States, and 
a great amount of hand labor is still characteristic 
of cigar factories even though most of the actual 
rolling is mechanized. Thus the cigar, which rode 


to the height of smoking fashion as a luxury prod- 
uct, has never been dissociated from a luxury price 
— whether it be rolled from domestic leaf, or made 
in bond from Cuban leaf, or fashioned in Havana 
and imported. From 1900 to the present the pound- 
age of tobacco consumed in cigars has varied but 
little from one year to the next, although America's 
population has doubled. The peak year for shade- 
grown, 1921, has not been matched since, for 1921 
also marked the ascendancy of another American 

product as the No. 1 mode of consuming tobaccos 
— the blended cigarette. 

Although the word "cigarette" literally meant a 
little cigar, the white roll is not a smaller variation 
of the brown one. While the cigar derives from 
Cuban leaf types and the Spanish tradition, the 
cigarette is an outgrowth of southern American leaf 
and a distinctively American tobacco tradition. 
This involved first chewing tobacco, then smoking 
tobacco, and finally the cigarette. 

Shadegrown wrapper is New England specialty. It yields a milder taste than sun-grown tobacco. Cuba 
is the most expensive of American tobaccos. Filtered and Puerto Rico also grow wrapper under shade to 
sunlight gives wrapper desirable light color, also satisfy American preference for light-hued cigars. 


Tobacco, eagerly sought by virtually every Indian 
tribe, was the white man's passport in opening the 
Far West. In the Ohio-Mississippi basin a new kind 
of leaf— Burley— became a major economic mainstay. 


The westward expansion of the United States is 
associated, and rightly so, with the dramatic 
deeds of pioneers like Daniel Boone, death-wor- 
shipping gunmen like Wild Bill Hickok and Wyatt 
Earp, dashing bravos in blue like George A. Custer. 
Such men "rode point" for the westering; they were 
the shock troops. But as Captain John Smith and 
the other skilled soldiers of Jamestown had dis- 
covered to their sorrow, shock troops could invade 
a land but could not really possess it. A territory is 
held only when economic development is assured 
to feed the settlers, and only when political struc- 
tures are set up to safeguard the economic growth. 
The real architect of western expansion was 
Thomas Jefferson. It was he who suggested, in his 
1781 "Notes on the state of Virginia" that tobacco 
would serve as an economic prop to the "western 
country on the Mississippi." It was he who drafted 
the Ordinance of 1784, calling for the orderly estab- 
lishment of provisional territorial governments 
which would grow into separate states. And it was 
he, as President, who secured title to the vast valley 
of the Mississippi by the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 
from France. 

Land pressure 

The need of an agrarian economy for more land 
had led seven of the thirteen colonies to stake out 
claims to their west— claims that were denied out- 
right by George Ill's proclamation of 1763, pro- 
hibiting land grants or settlements west of the 
Appalachians. One victim of this proclamation was 
the Mississippi Company of Virginia, organized 
by George Washington and others to develop an 
outpost at the Ohio-Mississippi junction. Land pres- 
sure was particularly strong in Virginia, where 
tobaccomen realized that the tidewater bottom 
lands were being worn out by successive years of 
one-crop cultivation. With the War of Independence 
over, tobacco began to edge away from the tide- 
water lands between the fall line and the sea, and 
into the higher piedmont between the mountains 
and the fall line. More adventurous planters eyed 
Natchez, where tobacco had been raised since 1718. 
In that year John Law's Companie d'Occident 
brought in 30 settlers to grow tobacco for the 
French market; two years later Law's overcapital- 
ized venture exploded in the famous "Mississippi 
Bubble," but the tobacco culture itself was not 


uprooted. England acquired the Natchez district 
after the Seven Years' War, and Spain acquired it 
during the Revolution. Very much aware of the 
profit in tobacco traffic, the Spanish government 
announced its willingness to buy two million pounds 
a year, to be exported through New Orleans. Since 
this announcement came just as the War of Inde- 
pendence ended and George Ill's proclamation 
went by the boards, quite a few Americans headed 
for Natchez. Some were experienced Virginia 
tobacco planters, among them younger sons who 
could not hope to inherit the family estate. 

Even while the Revolution was being fought 
along the Atlantic coast, pioneer settlers were trick- 
ling from the Chesapeake and Carolina colonies 
into Kentucky and Tennessee. Their routine of set- 
tlement was much the same as that followed by 
the indentured servants of tidewater days, who 
cleared land on the piedmont "frontier" after work- 
ing their way out of bond. The big trees were killed 
( big trees meant rich soil ) , and a cabin thrown up 
using pegs if nails were not to be had, as was more 
often the case than not. Corn and beets were 
planted before the land was actually cleared, hogs 

were fattened on wild acorns, and survival thus— 
it was hoped— insured. The best of the virgin land 
was saved for tobacco. From a sheltered bed seed- 
lings planted in March were transplanted in May. 
Harvested, air-cured and bundled, the summer's 
leaf crop might fill one hogshead— perhaps two. It 
bought nails and gunpowder, sugar and tea, axes 
and an occasional "fancy." Shelter and furniture 
came from the forest trees, food from the land, 
clothing from animal skins or tended sheep. 

The westerner— whether he battled the soil in 
seventeenth-century western Virginia or nineteenth- 
century Kentucky— was a different breed than the 
tidewater planter. The plantation culture of the 
Chesapeake was a little bit of old England; it en- 
joyed its lace cuffs, its churchwarden pipes, its 
books, its Georgian architecture. The western loner 
was likely to hate England and all it stood for. He 
had left the built-up East because it offered him no 
economic opportunity, no real freedom. In Ken- 
tucky, the price was right: before 1778, under Vir- 
ginia statute, anybody could have 400 acres free. 
( After that year real estate went up— to ten shillings 
for a hundred acres. ) There were no vast tobacco 

plantations in the Kentucky and Tennessee hills; 
the pioneers were small farmers by temperament as 
well as by terrain. 

River pressure 

So the marginal man of the Atlantic seaboard— 
the common man of his day— tramped over the Blue 
Ridge and down, over the Appalachian ridge and 
onto the wooded Appalachian plateau. This rolling 
country, stretching from Eastern Ohio through cen- 
tral Kentucky and Tennessee, was a kind of western 
piedmont. Its soil, rich in limestone and in nitrogen 
compounds, responded admirably to the hoe. Corn 
grew tall, tobacco grew strong, and both grew in 
quantity. Inspection warehouses for tobacco were 
in operation during the 1780s, but there was no way 
to export the leaf in volume. Roading hogsheads 
back over the Appalachians was impossible; float- 
ing them down the Mississippi was possible, but not 
acceptable to the Spaniards who controlled New 
Orleans. One of the consequences of this frustrating 
situation was the "Spanish Intrigue" organized by 
General James Wilkinson, who took an oath of 
loyalty to Spain and plotted to organize western 
settlements under Spanish rule. It has never been 
determined whether Wilkinson's real motive was 
political or economic. He first broached the Spanish 
customs barrier in 1787 with a cargo of meat and 
tobacco, and as the only "American" permitted to 
use the Mississippi trade route Wilkinson took a 
magnificent convoy of 25 riverboats to New Orleans 
the following year. Tobacco was his principal com- 
modity, and on this he made a trading profit, freight, 
handling fees and inspection fees. The prospect of 
Spanish colonies on the other side of the Appala- 

chians worried George Washington; and the pros- 
pect of U. S. action to prevent it worried Spain, for 
late in 1788 the Mississippi was opened to trade and 
American settlers permitted to "export" their to- 
bacco and other produce to New Orleans on pay- 
ment of duty. 

Kentucky 1792, Tennessee 1796 

With the historic success of the Chesapeake 
colonies to inspire them, the Kentucky settlers scat- 
tered their seed with a will. In 1790 they shipped 
250,000 pounds of leaf to New Orleans and no doubt 
smuggled in a good deal more. Two years later Ken- 
tucky was admitted as a state. The bottom tempo- 
rarily dropped out of the Mississippi tobacco market 
about this time as Spain reduced her purchases to 
virtually nothing— the reasons given were, first, that 
the royal warehouses in Seville were full and, sec- 
ond, that Kentuckians were "nesting" their hogs- 
heads with trash. The move finished Natchez as a 
tobacco region, and hit the Kentucky tobaccomen 
hard. But the pressure for a tobacco outlet neverthe- 
less forced open the mouth of the Mississippi. Spain 
in 1795 granted Americans the right of duty-free 
deposit in New Orleans, effective in 1798, and 
Kentucky boats floated hogsheads by the thousand 
down river. Tennessee was secured to the U. S. in 
1796, when it became a state. With Kentucky it was 
to become the great transmontane tobacco area, 
rivaling the Chesapeake states in production. 

$11,250,000 bargain 

Whatever potency the "Spanish Intrigue" ever 
had was now dissolved. The Spanish authority at 
New Orleans withdrew the right of deposit in 1802, 

First to pierce New Orleans customs barrier was 
General James Wilkinson. His "Spanish Intrigue" 
hastened Kentucky and Tennessee statehood, led 

to duty-free export of leaf via the Mississippi: 
early tobacco economy made river shipment vital. 
Barge trip from St. Louis required four months. 


again interrupting the leaf traffic. Meanwhile in 
Europe the rampaging Napoleon Bonaparte had ac- 
quired from Spain the whole Louisiana Territory— 
an area embracing not only the port of New Orleans 
but the great plains area west of the Mississippi to 
the Rocky Mountains. There may have been a con- 
nection between the Spanish revocation of free ex- 
port in October 1802 and the great expedition being 
mounted in Holland at the same time by Napoleon, 
aimed at establishing a French colony in the west- 
ern Mississippi basin. The expedition was icebound 
in harbor during the winter of 1802-3; meanwhile 
Jefferson sent James Monroe on his famous $10 
million mission to buy the Isle of Orleans. While 
Monroe sailed for Paris, the groundwork for cession 
not only of New Orleans but of the great plains as 
well was being laid by the U. S. minister to France, 
Robert R. Livingston. Napoleon was becoming dis- 
couraged in his scheme for a western empire to 
match those of Spain and Britain. He failed in his 
attempt to get Florida from Spain, failed to conquer 
the West Indian steppingstone of Santo Domingo 
and faced a war with Great Britain. By the time 
Monroe reached Paris in April, 1803, all of Louisiana 
had been offered for sale to Livingston. Before the 
month was out, Livingston and Monroe had ac- 
cepted the entire Louisiana package for $11,250,- 
000. Again the planters of Kentucky and Tennessee 
stepped up their cultivation; the Mississippi basin 
had finally been made safe for Americans and 

Embargo = "O grab me" 

The leaf growers of what is now the Burley region 
(parts of Ohio and Missouri in addition to Ken- 
tucky and Tennessee) had Jefferson to thank for 
the diplomatic coup that assured their economic 
development. An American merchant marine took 
shape, and western tobacco began to compete in 
world markets with that of Virginia, Maryland and 
North Carolina. But they had also to thank Jefferson 
for the next serious interruption to their progress— 
the Embargo of 1807. This was a milestone in inter- 
national affairs, representing the application of eco- 
nomic sanctions against Britain and France instead 
of a declaration of war in response to violation of 
U. S. rights at sea. These violations were crowned 
by the impressment of American seamen on the 
high seas by the British Navy, but the blockading 

Thomas Jefferson was the architect of expansion to 
the West. He encouraged westward movement of 
farms (including tobacco farms), sent Lewis and 
Clark on mission to explore trade routes, bought 
Louisiana Territory from France. A tobacco planter 
himself, he warned against one-crop concentration. 

of neutral American ships by each belligerent from 
the ports of the other was also a severe injury to a 
fledgling nation. Tobacco and other American 
staples were seized abroad. After 1807, when the 
Embargo took effect, they rotted on the wharves of 
U. S. ports instead. To be effective, the Embargo 
would have had to continue for several years— that 
is, until European stocks of cotton and tobacco were 
exhausted. As it was, the experiment was ended by 


Congress after only a year, and the idealistic Jeffer- 
son finished his second Presidential term in a storm 
of bitter abuse. His countrymen jeered that em- 
bargo, spelled backwards, read "O grab me." 

Americans were not philosophical enough, nor 
pacifistic enough, to strangle their own export econ- 
omy in order to chastise the warring empires of 
Europe. Their reaction, which finally took shape in 
the War of 1812, was more direct. And among the 
most prominent advocates of such a reaction were 
the "War Hawks" of Congress— Clay and Johnson of 
Kentucky, Grundy of Tennessee, Calhoun of South 
Carolina. These men were speaking for states com- 
mitted to the planting of tobacco and cotton, com- 
modities still grown mainly for export, still requiring 
freedom of the seas. There was poetic justice in the 
fact that long rifles in the hands of Kentucky and 
Tennessee militiamen routed the British at New 
Orleans on January 8, 1815. Although fought two 
weeks after a peace treaty had been signed at 
Ghent, the victory of the War Hawks saved the 

Mississippi valley from invasion. This time not 
only the Mississippi but the ocean had been made 
safe for Americans and tobacco. 

Era of good feeling 

With the departure of the beaten British from 
New Orleans, the United States was able to settle 
down to the business of growing for the first time in 
two generations. The era of turmoil that began with 
the Seven Years' War of 1756— of which the North 
American "French and Indian War" was a part— 
and continued through the Revolution and the War 
of 1812, was finally over. Boundaries were drawn; 
land rights and river rights and sea rights affecting 
the young nation were resolved. This was 'The Era 
of Good Feeling." Among other ways, it was re- 
flected in the resumption of steady increase in the 
tobacco export trade, which had peaked at 100,000,- 
000 pounds just before the Declaration of Independ- 
ence. This peak was duplicated during Washington's 
first term as President, but exports fell off by 10% or 

Freedom of the high seas for Americans and tobacco 
was secured by victory over British in War of 1812. 
Final battle was defeat of British at New Orleans by 

militiamen from Kentucky and Tennessee who used 
long backwoods rifles. Peace had already been made, 
but the Mississippi valley was saved from invasion. 


Tobacco manufacturing began with this very simple or roll tobacco like the Spanish colonial product, 
procedure: pile of cured leaf was roughly sorted, The resulting "twist" sold by the yard, could be 
then twisted or spun on a wheel (below) into rope chewed, sliced for pipe, or even powdered to snuff. 

157c in the last ten years of the eighteenth century. 
During Jefferson's second term (that of the Em- 
bargo), the average export poundage dropped 
below 60,000,000 and between 1811 and 1815 the 
annual export was less than 40,000,000. The low 
point, 1814, saw a little over 4,000,000 pounds 
shipped abroad. 

But in 1815, with the seas cleared, leaf exports 
snapped back to the 90,000,000-pound level as if 
nothing had happened. Thereafter they increased 
steadily. By 1830 the pre-Revolutionary peak was 
being consistently topped. In the next 30 years ex- 
port poundage doubled. 

At the same time the geography of tobacco culti- 
vation was changing. In 1830 the western fields- 
most of them in Kentucky and Tennessee— turned 
out a third of the nation's crop, and from 1843 until 
the War Between the States, about half. Farther 
west, in the newly-established Republic of Texas, 
tobacco was raised before 1840 and traded across 
the Rio Grande for Mexican sugar and coffee. 
Thomas Jefferson's vision was fulfilled. 

More important than the geographical shift, how- 
ever, Was a change in the character of the tobacco 
industry. Like the United States itself, it was be- 
coming more self-sufficient, making the transition 
from a supplier of raw material to a manufacturer 
for home consumption. In 1830 about a fifth of the 
crop was not shipped abroad but fed into home fac- 
tories. This proportion grew, and by 1860 about halt 
the leaf grown by Americans was processed and 
consumed by Americans. Appropriately enough, the 
new development came about in the place where 
the tobacco civilization first arose : Virginia. In that 
state four cities pioneered an industry that was to 
become the Old Dominion's largest well before the 
War Between the States. The four cities were Dan- 
ville, Richmond, Lynchburg and Petersburg; their 
product, plug tobacco. 

Era of good chewing 

For the first time, tobacco usage in the United 
States was not an imitation of some foreign mode, 
but entirely on its own. The general switch to chew- 




Even in rough-and-ready antebellum days, amenities in the spittoon & not on the floor, and to throw their 
were important. "Gentlemen are requested to spit butts & stumps in the stove, or out at the window." 

ing tobacco was, indeed, a distinctively American 
departure. After two centuries of aping the pipe- 
smoking tradition of Europe and, on a higher social 
level, the Old World's snuff-taking ritual, Ameri- 
cans took the quid in their teeth. There were two 
explanations. First, the onset of the new habit was 
partly a matter of psychology: a rejection, final and 
complete, of Europeans in general and the British 
in particular, with their inlaid snuff-boxes, formal 
airs and silk handkerchiefs. It is scarcely an exag- 
geration to say that snuff was associated with 
everything Americans detested. The Scotch, who 
pinched snuff as a means of pinching pennies, man- 
ufactured it and used the colonies as a kind of 
captive market. Led by the prince of state, the 
Regent, and the prince of foppery, Beau Brummel, 
fully half of all the hated English took "sneeshin." 
Snuff went with periwigs and kneebreeches, with 
the French Bourbons and Marie Antoinette. Later 

generations might have described this delicate and 
dandified sniffing practise as "unAmerican." 

As in every change of tobacco fashion, product 
improvement played a part. Foreign snuff mills of 
the time used the poorest scrap, stems, sawdust 
and straw. At the same time plug and twist, fash- 
ioned from leaf of light color and pleasant mild- 
ness, was displacing homemade tobacco rope. Most 
Americans could not spell the "retrogression of 
snuff quality," but they could taste it. It was not 
the first time, nor would it be the last, that a change 
in tobacco fashion was based on the development 
of a better way of bringing out the best in Nico- 
tiana tabacum. 

Chewing tobacco was also a matter of conven- 
ience: Americans were on the move, trundling 
their wagons to new homesites, building roads and 
canals, clearing the forests, farming, mining. "Chaw" 
was the practical thing for the average man, who 


could not pause in his day's occupation to light up 
a cumbersome pipe. It was practical for another rea- 
son—there was always a spittoon handy, as large as 
all outdoors. On the eve of Fort Sumter, manufac- 
tured tobacco meant chewing tobacco, either plug 
or twist. Of the 348 tobacco factories listed by the 
1860 Census for Virginia and North Carolina, only 
seven were smoking tobacco producers, and only six 
of the quid establishments mentioned smoking to- 
bacco as a sideline. And a sideline it was— in most 
cases the pipe tobacco was a heterogenous mixture 
of scraps left over from plug production. In the 
main, if a man wanted to puff a pipe, he could shred 
his own leaf, or slice up a plug. The universality of 
chewing is more remarkable in the light of the 
volume of manufactured tobacco reached by 1860— 
some 83,000,000 pounds in Virginia and North Caro- 
lina alone, or about as much as the nation's total 
export trade in 1820. 

Indian weed 

When the tobacco trade moved west after the 
Revolution, it did not stop at the farthest settlement 
but went all the way— to the Rockies by land, to 
California by sea. One reason for its movement be- 
vond the Mississippi and onto the plains (then 
called "the Great American Desert") was the In- 
dian. To the roving tribes of the buffalo country, as 
to the more settled hut-builders of the eastern 
forests, tobacco had always been something special. 
West of the Mississippi basin there were sedentaiy, 
agricultural tribes who cultivated tobacco: along 
the Missouri River, Mandans and Arikaras; along 
the upper Rio Grande, the pueblo peoples; along 
the Snake River of the Northwest, Nez Perces and 
others. The plains tribes— Sioux, Cheyenne, Coman- 
che, Navajo— were more likely to acquire their to- 
bacco by raid than by trade. Nevertheless, the leaf 
was prized by all of them. Where the harsh Nico- 

Era of Good Feeling after War of 1812 saw America 
on the move, wagoning west, clearing the forests, 
farming, mining. It was also the era of chewing 

tobacco, since few could pause during the day to 
light up a pipe. Chaw juice was no problem, since 
every man had a spittoon as large as all outdoors. 


-*>m w^« p »ih^ i j« j iii u »»w«M«d^»A > j/; - _ /.,/!/> !?! > ! 

Pontiac, who organized many tribes for 1 763 revolt Pontiac smoked calumet with English Major Roberts 

against British, was a chief of the Ottawas, one of at Fort Erie, was later welcomed to Oswego peace 

several tobacco-raising and tobacco-trading nations parley with tobacco. From the first, tobacco was a 

discover edbyChamplain 150 years before. Defeated diplomatic offering in dealings with the Indians. 

tiana rustica did not grow, even harsher wild to- 
baccos were smoked, usually 'blended with mild 
bark or leaves. Algonquin tribes even had a word 
for such a mixture— "kinnikinnick," from which a 
successful Lynchburg tobacco brand took its name. 
Like the buffalo and everything else that was 
valued highly by the Indian, tobacco was a gift of 
the Great Spirit and, smoked in a straight pipe, a 
symbol of peace on earth and goodwill toward 
men. The Indian palate was keener than his agri- 
cultural ability, for no sooner had white men begun 
the cultivation of leaf from Latin American seed 
than the red man ceased to cultivate Nicotiana 
rustica. This was recorded along the Connecticut 
River as well as the James and the York. In a sense, 
therefore, the Indians were the first local "market" 

for tobacco. There was never any quibbling about 
the leaf's acceptability in trading with Indians- 
only the question of what they could give in return. 
Thus, in the opening of the West, tobacco was a 
necessity of travel along with the beads, mirrors 
and other trading goods used to purchase food 
and "life insurance." 

Tobacco talks 

In their sallies across the Appalachians, the 
empire-building British of colonial times shrewdly 
spoke to the Indian in his own language, of which 
tobacco was a part. The Great Lakes tribes, whose 
regular commerce in tobacco was documented by 
Champlain and the French explorers who followed 
him, were "good Iroquois" to the French and, for 


that very reason, bitterly hostile to the English. 
These tobacco-trading nations, Ottawas, Hurons, 
Potawatomies and Chippewas, were organized in 
1763 by the great chief Pontiac for a massive revolt 
against the invading British. Most of the forts in the 
wild "back country" south of the Great Lakes were 
seized by the Indians, only Detroit, Niagara and 
Fort Pitt holding out against the uprising. It re- 
quired three years to break up the Indian alliance 
and end "Pontiac's War." Proud in defeat, Pontiac 
sailed east from Detroit with his fellow-chiefs and 
stopped at Fort Erie in 1766 to smoke the calumet 
and parley with the English Major Robert Rogers, 
commander of the western forts. When Pontiac and 
his party reached Fort Niagara on their journey to 
the peace council at Oswego, New York, the British 
there welcomed them with tobacco and rum. To- 
bacco—with or without firewater on the side— be- 
came the standard diplomatic gambit for dealing 
with Indians of almost every tribe as the English 
soldiery and later American explorers, trappers and 
fur traders moved relentlessly west. 

Lewis and Clark 

In the first overland breakthrough to the Pacific, 
by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (the for- 
mer, appropriately enough, having been secretary 
to a former tobaccoman, President Thomas Jeffer- 
son ) , the trail through Indian country and back was 
blazed with the aid of tobacco. At every meeting 
with the native tribes, the young officers presented 
them with "carrotes" (hands or twists) of tobacco 
or passed the pipe with them— pausing to do so even 
on one occasion where a dangerous stretch of white 
water made them anxious to test their fate. They 
recorded in their diaries of the two-and-a-half-year 
trip the attitudes of various tribes toward tobacco. 
Five months up the Missouri River on the western 
swing, they described the Arikaras: 

The Nation of the Rickerries is about 600 men 
able to bear arms a Great perpotion of them have 
fusees they appear to be peacefull, their men 
tall and perpotiend, womin Small and industerous, 
raise great quantities of Corn Beens Simnins &c. 
also Tobacco for the men to Smoke they collect 
all the wood and do the drugery . . . 

On their long land-and-water trek from St. Louis the way for later trade and settlement. Gifts of 

up the Missouri, across the Rockies and down the tobacco proved indispensable to win confidence of 

Columbia, Lewis and Clark established "diplomatic the red man. So much leaf was given away that the 

relations" with numerous Indian nations, paving party had no ration of its own during return trip. 


This entry would appear to indicate that women 
cultivated the Arikaras' leaf— either a misconception 
on the part of the explorers, or an exception to the 
general rule that braves raised the tobacco. 

In August, 1805, the party found itself south of 
what is now Butte, Montana, and named the Jeffer- 
son River "in honor of that illustrious personage 
Thomas Jefferson (the author of our enterprize)." 
They worked their way up the Jefferson and ascen- 
ded the Tobacco Root Range in search of the Snake 
Indians, with whom they wished to trade for much- 
needed horses. Just after crossing the continental 
divide, Lewis and a party got close enough to 60 
mounted warriors to communicate peaceful inten- 
tions. His account reads: 

bothe parties now advanced and we wer all car- 
resed and besmeared with their grease and paint 
till I was heartily tired of the national hug. I now 
had the pipe lit and gave them smoke ; they seated 
themselves in a circle around us and pulled of 
their mockersons before they would receive or 
smoke the pipe, this is a custom among them 
as I afterwards learned indicative of a sacred 
obligation of sincerity in their profession of friend- 
ship given by the act of receiving and smoking 
the pipe of a stranger, or which is as much as 
to say that they wish they may always go bear- 

William Clark, right, had captained a company of 
militia, was 34 when he and Lewis left St. Louis 
to find a Northwest Passage. Clark was an expert 
riverman, could handle Indians as well as boats. 
Meriwether Lewis, left, was 30, had been Thomas 
Jefferson's private secretary, had served under 
Clark, knew natural science and navigation. He 
co-commanded the great expedition into the West. 

foot if they are not sincere; a pretty heavy pen- 
alty if they are to march through the plains of 
their country. 
Two days later he noted in his journal: 

they are excessively fond of the pipe; but have 
it not much in their power to indulge themselves 
with even their native tobacco as they do not 
cultivate it themselves. 
The desire for tobacco, coupled for one or another 
reason with the inability to grow it, was quite evi- 
dent among the Nez Perces, one of the most ad- 
vanced Indian tribes. On October 4th Clark remarks 
I displeased an Indian by refuseing him a pice 
of Tobacco which he tooke the liberty to take 
out of our Sack. 
By Christmas Day of the same year the expedition 
had reached the mouth of the Columbia and built 
a stockade, Fort Clatsop. Their holiday began: 

at day light this morning we we awoke by the 
discharge of the fire arm of all our party & a 
Selute, Shouts and a Song which the whole party 
joined in under our windows, after which they 
retired to their rooms were chearfull all the morn- 
ing, after brakfast we divided our Tobacco which 
amounted to 12 carrots one half of which we gave 
to the men of the party who used tobacco, and 
to those who doe not use it we make a present 
of a handkerchief. 
The remaining six carrottes not distributed as Christ- 
mas presents were husbanded for trading on the 
trip back. Before leaving the coast, Lewis recorded 
that the "Clatsops Chinnooks and others inhabiting 
the coast and country in this neighbourhood, are 
excessively fond of smoking tobacco." He also found 
that other English-speaking traders had visited the 
river mouth to trade; the Indians "give us proofs of 
their varacity by repeating many words of English, 
as musquit, powder, shot, nife, file, damned rascal, 
&c." The visitors were probably British sailors in 
the Sandwich Island trade, although Lewis sus- 
pected that a settlement had been established south 
along the coast. At any rate the trade goods offered 
by the whites had consisted of tobacco along with 
firearms, tinware, beads and sailor's clothing. The 
Indian commodity was, of course, furs. 

The damp winter of the Northwest delayed the 
departure east until the following March; most 
members of the party were taken ill. The Indian 
demand for their dwindling store of tobacco was 
insistent: one morning three Clatsops turned up 
and remained all day, the object of their visit being 
"mearly to smoke the pipe." Rowing their dugouts 


Fur trade keelboat used Missouri route opened by artifacts sent via Missouri boat to their sponsor, 
Lewis and Clark expedition of 1805. Tobacco, they President Thomas Jefferson, was a carrotte (twist) 
found, was an essential trade item. Among several of the tobacco cultivated by the Arikaras Indians. 

up the Columbia, the whites provisioned themselves 
along the shore by hunting and trading. The Indians 
sold them roots, dogs, sturgeon, dried salmon and 
seal meat, but at high prices: one band refused to 
accept anything but tobacco in exchange. Conse- 

we are now obliged to deny the uce of this article 
( to the men who ) suffer much for the want of it. 
they substitute the bark of the wild crab which 
they chew ; it is very bitter, and they assure me 
they find it a good substitute for tobacco, the 
smokers substitute the inner bark of the red wil- 
low and the sacacommis. 
This was late in March. By July 8, Clark's group had 
recrossed the continental divide to find the supplies 
they had cached the previous August. The "uce" of 
tobacco no longer had to be denied the men, for to- 
bacco was part of the cache. But at each encounter 
with Indians— Yanktons, Mandans, and others— pro- 
tocol required that the pipe be passed, and by Sep- 
tember the supply was low again. Near the junction 

of the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers (now part of 
the boundary between Nebraska and South Da- 
kota), Clark and his men came upon a licensed 
Indian trader plying the river: 

as we were in want of some tobacco I purposed 
to Mr. Airs to furnish us with 4 carrots for which 
we would Pay the amount to any Merchant of 
St. Louis he very readily agreed to furnish us 
with tobacco and gave to each man as much as 
it is necessary for them to use between this and 
St. Louis, an instance of Generossity for which 
every man of the party appears to acknowledge. 
Clark adds, as an afterthought, that Mr. Airs "also 
insisted on our accepting a barrel of flour." 

So far as the tobacco historian is concerned, the 
journals of Lewis and Clark tell as much about the 
place of tobacco among white Americans as among 
red— although in one of the boxes of specimens and 
artifacts Clark sent to President Thomas Jefferson 
from Fort Mandan was "a carrote of Ricaras To- 
bacco" ( Arikaras' tobacco ) . The confidential com- 


Indian furs had been object of white traders ever were effective trade items, since broadleaf could 

since seventeenth-century tobacco planters sought not be grown on dry plains and Indians generally 

beaver skins from Virginia red men. "Commerce of preferred white mans tobacco to native varieties, 

the prairies" was a risky business. Tobacco twists Also desirable were blankets, hardware and beads. 

mission given by Jefferson was "to explore the 
Missouri river, & such principal stream of it as . . . 
may offer the most direct & practicable water com- 
munication across this continent, for the purposes 
of commerce" and specifically to find how the fur 
trade might best be conducted by Americans. 
Among their many discoveries, Lewis and Clark 
found that tobacco was an essential element of 
that trade. 

War and peace 

An offering of tobacco as a gift retained a special 
meaning, because the leaf still held an aroma of 
sanctity for Indian males. Where the Indians culti- 
vated tobacco, only the males tended the plant and 
it was the only crop thus dignified. The leaf figured 
in the life-habits of such non-agricultural tribes as 

the Comanches, the best horsemen of the plains. 
When one of their warriors died, a handful of 
tobacco was buried with him to "quiet the dead." 
The expression suggests a realization of tobacco's 
everyday function— to quiet the living. But despite 
their pride and prowess, the feared Comanches 
were not above peacefully approaching white 
wagon trains to beg for tobacco. This practise 
almost precipitated a war in 1847 when Chief 
Cinemo of the Cheyenne was shot by a jittery 
teamster as he advanced asking for tobacco. (Be- 
fore he died, however, Cinemo counseled peace to 
his tribesmen.) 

The pipe did not always betoken outward peace 
or inner quiet. Among the plains tribes it often 
signified an agreement. Before making war, the 
sacred pipe was sent from village to village; those 


willing to strengthen the war party would indicate 
their assent by smoking. And in a somewhat sim- 
ilar way, the long trading-wrangles between white 
man and red were generally opened and /or con- 
cluded with a shared pipe of tobacco. 

Leaf passport to Oregon 

Long before the Rocky Mountain barrier was 
breached by land, the mountain trappers were 
penetrating Oregon from the mouth of the Colum- 
bia River. Alexander Ross spent the years between 
1810 and 1825 in the Northwest fur trade, and his 
journal frequently mentions tobacco as an essential 
tool of that trade. Its principal use was to placate 
the Indians, smoking being "the introductory step 
to all important affairs, and no business can be 
entered upon with these people before the cere- 
mony of smoking is over." Ross describes an attack 
on a white hunting party "owing to the scarcity of 
tobacco," and the pleasure expressed by a chief at 
the return of an old trader friend: 

We are rejoiced to see one of our first and best 
friends come back again to live among us. We were 
always well treated by our first traders, and got 
plenty of tobacco to smoke. They never passed 
our camp without taking our children by the hand 
and giving us to smoke . . 

Ross was careful to use tobacco as his passport. On 
one trek to the Cascades he found five hundred 
well-armed Indians, who were observed "to become 
shy towards us, a very bad sign." At night the 
crowd was taken into the white party's camp, and 
When the ceremony of smoking was over, a few 
words were addressed to the chiefs expressing the 
favorable sense we entertained for their character 
and their deportment during the day. We also 
bestowed on each a head of tobacco, and to every 
one of the motly group we gave a single leaf; 
which took a considerable quantity and some time 
to distribute. This kind treatment was so differ- 
ent to anything they had met with for years past 
that all with one voice called out in the Chinook 
language, "Haugh owe yea ah, Haugh owe yea 
ah," meaning "our friends, our friends." 

Fort Astoria on the Columbia River was the base of Smoking was "the introductory step in all important 
operations for fur trader Alexander Ross, builder affairs, and no business can be entered upon with 
of the skin commerce with the Indians (1810-1825). those people before the smoking ceremony is over." 


Later Ross describes his answer to one unruly red- 
man, "a fellow more like a baboon than a man, 
with a head full of feathers and countenance of 
brass, having a fine gun in his hand," who called 
out the one question that was central to the rela- 
tionship between Indian and Caucasian: 

"How long are the whites to pass here, troubling 
our waters and scaring our fish without paying us! 
look at all that bales of goods going to our en- 
emies," said he, "and look at our wives and chil- 
dren naked" ... I turned briskly round, "So long," 
said I, "as the Indians smoke our tobacco: just so 
long and no longer will the whites pass here." 
Then I put a question to him in turn. "Who 
gave you that fine gun you have?" said I. "The 
whites," said he, "And who gives you tobacco to 
smoke?" said I again. "The Whites," he replied. 
Continuing the subject, "Are you fond of your 
gun?" said I. "Yes," said he. "And are you fond of 
your tobacco to smoke?" To this question the 
reply was "Yes." "Then," said I, "you ought to be 
fond of the whites, who supply all your wants." 
"Oh, yes," rejoined he. 
As Ross and his trappers made their way toward 
the Rockies, a little farther east each year, they 
encountered the Snake nation. "The regularity and 
order of these people convinced the whites that 

they were under a very different government to any 
other they had yet seen in the country." The Snakes 
were not beggars of tobacco, but preferred their 
own. Ross thought they were "perhaps the only 
Indian nation on the continent that manufacture 
and smoke their own tobacco." By 1820, white 
man's tobacco had been smoked in most parts of 
what is now the United States, and Ross' observa- 
tion may have been substantially correct. 

The Snake tobacco plant grows low, is of a brown- 
ish colour and thrives in most parts of the country, 
but is a favourite of sandy or barren soil .... it 
is weaker than our tobacco, but the difference in 
strength may be owing to the mode of manufac- 
turing it for use. For this purpose their only proc- 
ess is to dig it and then rub it fine with the hands 
or pound it with stones until it is tolerably fine. In 
this state it almost resembles green tea. In smoking 
it leaves a green taste or flavour in the mouth. 
Our people however seemed to like it very well 
. . . yet with all their fondness for the Snake 
tobacco, I observed that the moment they reached 
the fort the Snake importation was either bartered 
away or laid aside; one and all applied to me for 
good old twist! 

The Snakes would often bring it to our people 
for sale; but generally in small parcels, sometimes 

Many tribes of the Great Plains did not cultivate the dead. In 1867 General Hancock, responsible for 
tobacco. Yet they all prized the leaf, using it to good order in Kansas and Colorado, was sketched as 
signify agreement, to comfort the living and quiet he "passed the pipe" with Arapahoes. All was well. 


Westward march of civilization displaced Indians Agencies on U.S. reservations handed out regular 
from their lands. In 1870s and 1880s they became rations to the subdued tribes. These consisted of 
government wards, "cheaper to feed than to fight" tobacco, coffee, flour, sugar and beef on the hoof. 

an ounce or two, sometimes a quart, and some- 
times as much as a gallon. In their bartering 
propensities, however, they would often make our 
friends smile to see them with a beaver skin in 
one hand and a small bag containing perhaps a 
pint of the native tobacco in the other: the former 
they would offer for a paper looking glass worth 
two pence; while for the latter they would often 
demand an axe worth four or five shillings! 

"Passing the pipe" 

In such classic accounts of the early plains traffic 
as Parkman's 1846 journey on the Oregon Trail, 
tobacco punctuates almost every camping halt, and 
"passing the pipe" figures in almost every conversa- 
tion that follows a meeting with a roaming Indian. 
For example: 

They were the Pawnees whom Kearsley had en- 
countered the day before, and belonged to a large 

hunting party, known to be ranging the prairie 
in the vicinity. They strode rapidly by, within a 
furlong of our tents, not pausing or looking to- 
wards us, after the manner of Indians when medi- 
tating mischief, or conscious of ill desert. I went 
out to meet them, and had an amicable confer- 
ence with the chief, presenting him with half a 
pound of tobacco, at which unmerited bounty he 
expressed much gratification. These fellows, or 
some of their companions, had committed a das- 
tardly outrage [murder] upon an emigrant party 
in advance of us . . . 
And again : 

On the prairie the custom of smoking with friends 
is seldom omitted, whether among Indians or 
whites. The pipe, therefore, was taken from the 
wall, and its red bowl crammed with the tobacco 
and shongsasha [red willow bark] mixed in suit- 
able proportions. Then it passed round the circle, 
each man inhaling a few whiffs . . . 


When Parkman and his party arrived at Fort Lar- 
amie, then a trading post of the American Fur 
Company, he relates that the Indians of the vicinity 
pushed into their quarters and sat silently in a 
semi-circle. "The pipe was now to be lighted and 
passed from one to another; and this was the only 
entertainment that at present they expected from 
us." The use of a pipe by Indians and whites does 
not imply that smoking tobacco was carried. Pressed 
plug was easier to carry and keep and almost as 
convenient when the smoking-time came, since the 
red willow bark was usually sliced on a flat board 
and the tobacco at the same time. 

There was nothing about this haphazard Indian 
trading to push up the price of tobacco, or to move 
it across the plains in any volume. But when fifty 
thousand men trekked west during the Colorado 
Gold Rush of 1859 ( "Pike's Peak or Bust" ) , tobacco, 
coffee and sugar were sold for their weight in gold 

Tobacco continued to play a part on the great 
plains even after the free trade with roaming Indi- 
ans had given way to a death hunt by the U. S. 
Cavalry. When the surviving tribes were rounded 
up and herded onto reservations, tobacco became 
an instrument of government policy, aptly ex- 
pressed in the phrase "cheaper to feed than to 
fight." Its value as a pacifier was reflected by its 
inclusion in the government ration distributed by 
Indian agents; tobacco was one of the five staples 
regularly issued, the others being coffee, flour, 
sugar and beef on the hoof. 

Seegaritos and Santa Fe 

Unnoticed and largely unchronicled in the pene- 
tration from the Appalachians to the Rockies was 
the much older penetration of white settlement 
from the South, up to the headwaters of the Rio 
Grande. Smoking was not brought to the Santa Fe 
area by the Spanish whites; the ancient peoples of 

The old city of Santa Fe, reached during the 1820s of Spain, rolled cigars from homegrown leaf. Pueblo 
by American wagon traders, had a tobacco tradition people of ancient times used pipes and cigarettes, 
of its own. Early settlers, defying the rigid laws permitted only proven male hunters to smoke pipes. 


Around 1820 American traders "dis- 
covered" Santa Fe, were surprised to find 
senoras and senoritas using "seegaritos, to 
which all females of the Capital, regardless 
of age or condition in society, are subject." 

the pueblos had long before smoked red willow 
bark and coarse Nicotiana rustica in clay pipes, 
the custom being permitted only to men who had 
shown their prowess as hunters. But among the 
precious stores dragged up the hundreds of miles 
of hot desert from Mexico during the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries was tobacco: it was 
against the law for any province of Spain to manu- 
facture cigars with homegrown leaf. Nevertheless, 
the rigid law of Spain was not enforceable in so 
remote an outpost as old Santa Fe. A Spanish 
Padre, reporting on the ways of the settlers around 
1650, wrote: 

They are content if they have a good crop of 
tobacco to smoke, caring for no more riches, 
apparently under a vow of poverty, which is say- 
ing much for men who in their thirst for gold 
would enter hell itself to get it. 
During the 1820s, when American wagoners broke 
open the Santa Fe trail, they described the senoras 
and senoritas with their black lace, lavender face 
powder, and "fearsome vice of employing the 
seegarito to which all females of the Capital, re- 
gardless of age or condition in society, are subject." 
The Americans' response to cigarette smoking did 
not indicate anti-tobacco sentiments, for almost 
every trader and trapper carried tobacco in his sack 
of "possibles" strapped to his horse. And American 
trade goods exchanged in Santa Fe often included 

wagonloads of tobacco— contraband under Spanish 
rule. More likely, the frontiersman— like the mid- 
western farmer of 1900— could not understand why 
anyone would take to cigarette smoking when quid 
and pipe were to be had. 

General Stephen Kearny, who used Santa Fe as 
a staging area for his 1846 expedition to California, 
also observed that all the local women smoked 
"seegaritos," and that at night the fandangos were 
danced through clouds of cigarette smoke. Many 
of these cigarettes were wrapped, not in scarce 
paper, but like those of the Aztecs, in cornhusks. At 
the public dances, cigarettes were lighted from 
flints; in the Governor's palace, the women ate from 
silver and held their cigarettes in pincers of gold. 

On July 4, 1876 Santa Fe, now part of the Terri- 
tory of New Mexico, U. S. A., celebrated the hun- 
dredth anniversary of independence with a grand 
parade. One of the most popular floats carried 
workers from the cigar factory, who rolled cigars 
as they rolled and presented them to the crowd. In 
addition to commemorating freedom from Britain, 
the town was also marking a freedom long denied 
under Spain— freedom to "roll their own." 


When Americans began arriving in California 
early in the nineteenth century they found, as Sir 


Early "Calif ornios" from Mexico 
brought Spanish preference with 
them, considered cigar-making a 
necessary skill. Although state 
could not grow fine tobacco, it 
was for a time a big center of 
cigar and cigarette manufacture. 

Francis Drake had found in 1578, that the tobacco 
tradition had preceded them. In the later instance, 
however, it was civilized Mexican settlers rather 
than savage Indians who were consuming the leaf. 
Vallejo of Sonoma, commander of Mexican troops 

in Northern California in 1839, was trained in tan- 
ning, brickmaking, shoemaking and cigarmaking. 
American arrivals a few years afterward found 
an unnamed monk in Monterey printing religious 
tracts on cigar wrappers. And in 1847, a year before 

f *.. *«F 

When this sketch of San Francisco was made on the to live off those who found it. Among the thirty 
spot in 1848, the town was booming and Americans or forty professional men who set up in business 
were pouring in, some seeking gold, others seeking were three doctors of medicine, one cigar-roller. 


California was annexed, the mushrooming city of 
San Francisco contained only three doctors but at 
least one cigar maker. 

As might be expected, the Mexican-Spanish 
tradition governed California manufacture, even 
while the Forty-Niners introduced the Eastern 
mode of consumption. Its cigar establishments grew 
quickly as Americans poured in; by 1880 it was 
fourth in value of cigars produced, after New York, 
Pennsylvania and Ohio. With this background, and 
in view of California's importance as a growing 
market, San Francisco soon boasted a sizable cig- 
arette output as well. Until World War II and its 
squeeze on overland freight transport, the city was 
a manufacturing center for one of the top three 
companies. Attempts were made, in view of the long 
leaf haul from the East, to grow tobacco in the 
Golden State shortly after the Civil War. But in 
1880 the poundage was negligible— scarcely more 
than a thousandth of the national crop, and well 
under that of stony little Vermont. Except for mod- 
est production in Missouri and Wisconsin, tobacco 
cultivation did not cross the Mississippi. Irrigation, 
so successful in converting sandy barrens into lux- 
uriant fruit groves, does not suffice for tobacco. Sub- 
tropical in origin, tobacco needs natural rainfall and 
humid summers to attain richness of flavor. So the 

story of Americans and their tobacco was to unfold 
in terms of the arch-rivalry between the Ohio Val- 
ley and the Virginia-Carolina piedmont. 

Plug spark 

Although Virginia accounted for half the nation's 
non-cigar tobacco manufactures during most of the 
antebellum years, there was plenty of market to go 
around. The newer Western cities followed the lead 
of Virginia and the second largest producer, New 
York. Chewing factories went up in Louisville, 
Clarksville, Tenn., and St. Louis. A pioneer plug- 
maker of the last-named town, the Foulks factory, 
took on a son-in-law named John Liggett and later 
evolved into Liggett & Myers. 

Just as leaf-growing west of the Appalachians 
was an offshoot of the tidewater colonies and event- 
ually overtook their production, so the western 
states first imitated and later (after the War 
Between the States ) outstripped the Virginia Dis- 
trict in plugmaking. The reason for this success lay 
in the nature of Burley leaf itself. Unlike the East- 
ern plant, Burley has little or no content of sugar. 
As plugmaking grew more elaborate, flavoring was 
added to the cured leaf —licorice, rum, sugar, honey, 
or some other sweetener. The low-sugared Burley 
leaf could absorb a considerable amount of this 


Highly-absorbent western Burley was used in plug Richmond during late 1850s, was a Burley product, 
by some eastern manufacturers even before the War Brand name reflects Gold Rush excitement, as does 
Between the States. Lucky Strike plug was made in the scenic label for Pike's Peak chewing tobacco. 


Licorice was first used in Virginia 
as a preservative, came to be 
appreciated as a sweetener. But 
Bright leaf, with natural sugar 
content, could absorb only a little. 

"casing," and thus Burley permitted many more 
variations of flavor than Virginia tobacco, which 
has an ample sugar component to start with. It 
required time and seasoning— as it does for most 
tobacco products— for Burley plug to acquire its 
reputation, and meanwhile the power of the name 
"Virginia" was a strong sales influence. The lack of 
repute was so much of a handicap for western man- 
ufacturers that some used the names of Virginia and 
North Carolina towns as box stamps, or even appro- 
priated the names of well-known eastern brands. 
Nevertheless, special merit in a particular form 
of tobacco does not remain unknown very long. 
One of the first to capitalize on the particular vir- 
tues of Burley plug was an alert young manufac- 
turer in, of all places, Richmond, Virginia. In 1850 
Dr. R. A. Patterson dropped his medical satchel to 
learn the tobacco business in his uncle's factory. 
Six years later he and a fellow-employee struck out 
on their own with conspicuous success, using the 
brand name Lucky Strike to describe their principal 
product, a Burley plug. Like Pike's Peak, a chew 
made by Winfree and Loyd of Lynchburg, the 
name capitalized on the gold fever that was sweep- 
ing the East. 

Bluegrass boom 

The upswing of planting and manufacture in 'the 
Middle West was scarcely disturbed by the four 

years of civil war. The closing of the Mississippi, 
which had dealt the Kentucky pioneers a severe 
blow fifty years earlier, merely shifted the export 
route of Burley tobacco— from the New Orleans 
river trip to a New York train shipment via the new 
Louisville and Nashville line. Although Tennessee 
threw in its lot with the Confederacy, Kentucky 
sided with the north, and thus the Ohio River valley 
was a protected area in the Union's Zone of the 
Interior. Kentucky superseded Virginia as the top 
tobacco state during the war, although this would 
probably have happened sooner or later in any 
event. Between 1860 and 1870, the burley crop in 
the Bluegrass State held its volume of more than 
100,000,000 pounds. The Virginia-North Carolina 
total dropped from 156,000,0000 to 48,000,000 
pounds. Ten years later the so-called "western crop" 
of Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Missouri was 
nearly 250,000,000 pounds, up about 25% from the 
prewar figure, while the Virginia-Maryland-North 
Carolina total was 133,000,000, about 25% less than 
before the war. 

White Burley 

Of greater significance than the rise in Burley 
quantity was a sudden improvement in quality that 
began in 1864 along the fortunately-protected Ohio 
valley. This was the accidental cultivation of so- 
called White Burley in Ohio, presumably the result 

J 32 

of a botanical mutation. "White" in this usage was 
a synonym for "Bright"— a word that could hardly 
find willing acceptance along the Ohio! Within fif- 
teen years the lighter leaf (which was not white 
but soft brown ) had completely replaced the dark, 
gummy Red Burley formerly grown. The startling 
change, plus the shift of wartime leaf traffic toward 
the east, made Cincinnati a thriving market town. 
Averaging receipts of about 6,000 hogsheads a year 
through 1860, the Queen City received 50,000 hogs- 
head in each of the last two war years, a figure that 
went to 100,000 by the winter selling season of 
1880-81. Louisville, eighty miles farther west, 
handled 63,000 hogsheads in 1864 but averaged no 
more than that number through 1881. "Cincinnati," 
wrote the United States censustaker of 1880, "is 
foremost in the distribution of this new and popular 
product, and in this trade knows no competitor 
except Louisville." 

Battle of the sweet tooth 

The "new and popular" Burley, having bested 
the Atlantic states in crop volume, was now chal- 
lenging the older eastern centers in plug manufac- 

ture, still the big item of the tobacco business with 
60% of the total processed poundage. By 1880, the 
Middle West had gotten within striking distance 
of the Bright states, with 26,400,000 pounds of 
plug against 45,800,000 pounds for Virginia-North 
Carolina. (The New York area produced virtually 
all the rest, 16,400,000 pounds. ) Taking full advan- 
tage of the porous, absorbent quality of the new 
strain of White Burley, the midwesterners pressed 
the "battle of the sweet tooth." Plug made in 
St. Louis and Louisville was 25% licorice and 
sugar by weight. The Bright leaf of the east could 
not absorb these quantities; the "flat plug" of North 
Carolina averaged only 4% of sweetening, some die- 
hard manufacturers holding the line with an abso- 
lutely unsweetened product. 

The Bright "purists" denied to themselves the 
possibility of such mouth-watering copy as the fol- 
lowing, carried in an 1885 advertisement to the 
trade by Harry Weissinger, a Louisville plugman: 


is made of the highest grade of White Burley Leaf 
and Fruit. The fruit, by a process known only to 

Absorbent qualities of Burley tobacco, which has plug resulted. Heart of each plug tobacco factory 
little natural sugar, led to wholesale flavoring of was its "kitchen," where top-secret flavoring was 
chewing tobacco. Mass output of sweet Burley mixed. Only trusted employees were allowed inside. 







• •« 









. A...--./-- - •••••••-••••' V •••-' \.. 








Consumption of manufactured tobacco — chewing, (dotted line) was reached in 1897, which was also 
smoking tobacco and scrap— tripled between 1880 the climactic year of the "plug war" in the West, 
and 1910 (solid line). However, the peak use of chew Market for chew remained static for twenty years. 

us, becomes a component part of the manufac- 
tured article, and thus a delicately delicious flavor 
is imparted never heretofore obtained outside of a 
French Confection. 

Tobacco is of itself a positive quantity and a 
pronounced flavor, and hence the difficulty of 
imparting a taste to it which is more delicate in 
its character than the tobacco itself. This from 
the very obvious reason that sufficient quantities 
of that which was more delicate could not be used 
to overcome that which was more strong. Hence 
manufacturers, in order to flavor tobacco, have 
had to use that which was more potent than the 
tobacco itself, and consequently the "drug store" 
taste and smell which pervades all flavored navy 

To impart a delicate flavor to tobacco and yet 
not destroy the identity of the tobacco itself has 
been the dream of our manufacturing life. That 
we have been awakened to a realization of this 

dream in the production of "Prune Nugget" no 
one who chews the tobacco will doubt. 

In the chew of "Prune Nugget" the acme of 
our hopes has been realized; we have taken an 
advance step in the manufacturing art, and have 
left all competition behind. 

This great success is not without cost, and the 

process is expensive; hence "Prune Nugget" can 

not be sold at a low price. It runs 9 to the pound 

and is packed in twelve-pound boxes. The lumps 

are of a novel and attractive shape. We have fixed 

the price at sixty-two cents per pound, which is 

as low as the quality will admit. 

The battle of the sweet tooth was thus a war of 

words as well as flavorings. But not all the words 

were as sugary as Weissinger's. Early in the game 

Bright manufacturers had labeled Burley plug as 

"navy goods," a term of opprobrium, since the Navy 

was alleged to buy cheap, common tobacco for its 

ration. One Virginia manufacturer went so far as 












Growth of manufactured tobacco from 1900 through and pipe-smoking fell off sharply, then declined 
World War I was sustained by increase in smoking steadily except for emergency revivals during the 
tobacco consumption. After the Armistice chewing depression of 30s and cigarette shortage of 1945. 

to label his brand Anti-Navy. But on this point the 
South was by no means solid. Richmond, still the 
largest plug town, averaged a sugar-and-licorice 
content of 17%, indicating that a goodly number of 
manufacturers had followed the lead of R. A. Pat- 
terson and gone over to a Burley filler. Great pains 
were taken in that city to burn the slats and staves 
of tobacco hogsheads bearing evidence of mid- 
western origin. 

Despite the best, if belated, efforts of the Rich- 
monders, the West came into the manufacturing 
business just as it had come into farming— with a 
rush. Huge factories went up in Louisville and St. 
Louis. There was no tradition of gentle handcraft 
in sleepy country establishments to overcome, no 
fussing over golden wrappers. Missouri produced 
about one-third as much manufactured tobacco as 
Virginia in 1880, Kentucky about a fifth. Ten years 

later the "show me" state was even with Virginia in 
pounds produced, even though the Old Dominion 
had stepped up its total by 25%. (Ohio just about 
matched the smaller Kentucky output of plug and 
smoking, but was turning out cheap cigars in the 
hundreds of millions and in 1880 ranked third in 
brown-rolling behind New York and Pennsylvania.) 
By 1890 the Midwest had a corner on manufac- 
tured tobacco, with St. Louis and Louisville plac- 
ing one-two. Even before that year, however, the 
old rivalry of East vs. Midwest, Bright vs. Burley, 
flat plug vs. navy, was superseded by fierce com- 
petition within each class of product. Around 1875, 
manufacturers of plug began to concentrate on dif- 
ferentiating their brands from those of the competi- 
tion. This brand identification was achieved in two 
ways: first, by the art of flavoring— exact formulas, 
almost impossible to duplicate and guarded like 


Flat plug (left) usually referred to a product of "navy." Burley twist (right), popularly known as 
Bright tobacco or one with a Bright leaf wrapper, "pigtail," evolved from the old Spanish tobacco 
Burley chewing tobacco of same shape was called rope, was first woven or spun, then compressed. 

crown jewels, made the taste of each product more 
or less distinctive; second, by brand name packag- 
ing. In the plug field this took the form of tin tags 
— usually an inch or less in width — having two 
sharp prongs that bent into the plug and pro- 
claimed its trademark and/or origin in bright yel- 
low, red, blue and green enamel. Before the genius 
of the Machine Age evolved tagging devices, small 
boys were hired to affix the tin tags. 

It is interesting and probably significant that 
the tin tag, an important merchandising advance, 
was originated not in the West but by the Lorillard 
company of New York and Jersey City, about 1870. 
Appropriately enough, the first Lorillard plug to 
wear the novel disc was a brand named Tin Tag 
( see page 193 ) . The company attempted to patent 
the device for its exclusive use but the courts ruled 
that tin tags were not patentable and in short order 
tags were used by plugmakers generally. 

Tin tags 

The gaudy identification of tobacco goods was 
not in itself new: fifty years before, rival cigar 
brands had begun to sport fancy names and em- 
bossed, gilt bands and boxes of a regal splendor 
no tin tag could match. But the tin tag served a 
purpose beyond mere identification; as plug volume 
worked upward toward its 1897 peak of 200,000,000 
pounds ( which it was to approximate for the better 
part of 20 years), the manufacturers offered pre- 
miums for the tin labels. Resembling coins in size 
and sometimes in shape, the tin tags were the equiva- 
lent of currency. Not only prizes but cash could 
be had; in 1902, one manufacturer spent $1,567,000 
in redeeming plug tags, no small sum in the day of 

the pre-inflated dollar. Some tags were worth as 
much as half a cent apiece in trade-in value, although 
one-eighth of a cent was closer to the average. 

Fighting brands 

In the flush of the rush to "big business," the 
entire plug industry dedicated itself to volume, let- 
ting the profit margins fall where they may. Each 
ambitious manufacturer turned loose at least one 
"fighting brand," sold to the trade for as low as 
13c or 14c per pound (of which 6c represented 
federal tax). At the height of the plug war, in 
1897, it was scarcely possible to make the product, 
even in volume, for less than 21c per pound includ- 
ing tax. During 1896, 1897 and 1898 more than a 
fifth of the nation's plug was sold at a loss! The 
sole mission of the fighting brands was to cut into 
the other fellow's volume, and they were aptly 
branded: Battle Ax, the most famous, made by 
Louisville's National Tobacco Works; Scalping 
Knife, made by Liggett and Myers in St. Louis; 
Crossbow, made by the Drummond Company in 
the same city; Quality and Quantity, made by 
Sorg in Middletown, Ohio. 

These fighting brands were not, at first, popular 
favorites or profit-makers. Nor, in spite of their 
economy appeal and subsequent volume, did they 
become so. After the plug war, an attempt was 
made to restore Battle Ax to the 40c per pound 
needed to show a profit, but in three short years 
ending in 1900 its volume dropped from 29,000,000 
to 12,000,000 pounds. The big brands of the day 
were Star, put out by Liggett, and Newsboy, turned 
out by the National Tobacco Works. Another brand, 
Brown's Standard Navy, was famous for excep- 


tional keeping qualities and gained success on a 
smaller scale. 

Verbal warfare 

The brand names used for plug ranged, in retro- 
spect, from the whimsical to the incredible. The 
National Works had a Lie Quid and a Monkey 
Wrench Plug. Myers of Richmond offered Little 
Swan Rough and Ready and Darling Fanny Pan 
Cake, either name enough to curdle the lustiest 
masculine appetite. For every action there was an 
equal and opposite reaction. When Pfingst, Doer- 
hoefer & Company of Louisville registered Piper 
Heidsieck, the "gentleman's quid," it was only a 
matter of time before a rival— in this case McNamara, 
Sealts & Mullen of Covington, Kentucky— registered 
Champagne and Mumrn's Extra Dry. Chewers 
whose salivary conditioning resembled that of 
Pavlov's dogs were not intended to take the latter 
brand name literally. 

As late as 1885 trade marks could not be regis- 
tered in the patent office unless they were used in 
commerce with foreign nations or with the Indian 
tribes. Redress could be had at common law, but 
this was no great deterrent to imitation. There were 
at least nine manufacturers with a Legal Tender 
plug, three with Honey Suckle, six with Strawberry, 
four with Pine Apple, eleven with Honey Dew (and 
one slyly branded Mountain Dew). There was, 
inevitably, a plug tobacco named Durham in an 
effort to borrow some of the sales appeal built up 
by Durham smoking tobacco. This Durham plug 
was made in Richmond. 

In imitation or outright theft of names there was 
a kind of piratical logic; there was none in some of 
the plug designations used even by the largest com- 
panies. Thousands of pounds of palatable tobacco 
were sold under such names as Hard Pan, Plank 
Road, Grit, Old Slug, Jaw Bone, Old Brick, Alliga- 
tor, Ring Coil Hot Cake, Leatherwood, Sailor Knot, 
Ironsides, Sam Jones' Vest Chew, Red Hot, and 
Marline Spike. Lacking even this grisly imagina- 
tive character was a brand put out by Wilson & 
McCallay of Middletown called That. So desperate 
for a name was Thomas C. Williams of Richmond 
that he titled one of his plugs Little Worth. A small 
plugger of Chillicothe, Missouri, bucked the trend 
by calling his brand No Tag. 

Weird nomenclature was by no means confined 
to the cheapest form of tobacco. Fine-cut chewing 
mixtures, a comparatively expensive specialty, bore 
names as repulsive as Mule Ear, Lime Kiln Club 
and Susins Excelsior Tarred Chewing. Nor was 
humor of a sort lacking: one fine-cut brand name 
was Its Naughty, But Oh How Nice. 

Chews to choose 

The term "chewing tobacco" covered several 
kinds of product. "Flat plug" meant compressed 
rectangular cakes of Bright tobacco, sweetened 
lightly or not at all. "Navy" also referred to flat, 
rectangular cakes but was reserved for Burley leaf, 
highly flavored. "Twist" accounted for about one- 
twentieth of plug volume and was a tobacco rope 
braided by hand like the ancient West Indian roll 
and then compressed. "Fine-cut chewing" resem- 

'■' ''■"'"'* 

Tin tags served two purposes: pronged into plug, some assurance of consistent quality; they were 
they constituted a trademark identification and also premium tokens redeemable for prizes, cash. 


m <m 




':. -. ■ 


Like the Virginia tobacco towns, Louisville was a and Mississippi. During and after the War of 1861, 
natural leaf market and manufacturing center owing Louisville handled some 60,000 hogsheads per year 
to its river location, near the confluence of Ohio and was rivaled as leaf market only by Cincinnati. 

bled long cut smoking tobacco in that it comprised 
shredded stripped leaf (not sliced plug) and was 
not compressed; it was made specifically for masti- 
cating, however, using dark Green River leaf in 
addition to Burley. Fine-cut was just as expensive 
as long-cut pipe tobacco ( about 1900 smoking and 
chewing tobaccos alike averaged about 35c per 
pound to the trade, with granulated Bright priced 
5c or so higher). The volume of fine-cut chewing 
generally ran close to that of twist. 

Navy was not usually wholesaled in bite-size 
squares but in rectangles averaging a pound in 
weight and three inches by sixteen in size. These 
were indented for the retailer's convenience into 
five or six "cuts" which sold ordinarily for a dime 
per cut. Some brands were "two-spaced" or "two- 
faced"— divided on one side into five cuts, on the 
other into six. Armed with his fearsome plug chop- 

per—one widely used sheer was designed to resem- 
ble a battle axe to promote the brand of that name 
—the retailer had his option as to how big a cut to 
sell for a dime. 

Naval victory 

During the 80s and 90s the small quidmaker 
faded from the scene, as large volume with micro- 
scopic unit profits became the order of the day. 
As the century drew to a close there were only ten 
sizable plug manufacturers: Liggett & Myers, 
Drummond, and Butler in St. Louis; Finzer and the 
National Tobacco Works in Louisville; Sorg in Mid- 
dletown; Scotten in Detroit; Lorillard in Jersey 
City; and in Winston, so-called "Storm Center of 
the Plug Industry," Reynolds and Hanes. These 
ten companies alone did 60% of the nation's plug 
manufacture. The giants among them were Liggett 


War closed the Mississippi but hogsheads went to 
New York by rail. Small plugmakers vanished; in 
1890s ten companies made 60% of all U.S. plug. 

& Myers and National Tobacco Works, each with a 
cool one-seventh of total production. This listing 
alone tells the story of the battle of the sweet tooth: 
it was a "naval" victory for the Midwest, whose 
seven leading pluggeries accounted for 52% of 
national poundage. 

There were fine old firms of some consequence 
outside the big ten: Brown in St. Louis, Mayo, 
Patterson, J. Wright in Richmond; S. W. Venable 
in Petersburg, and others. But their annual output 
ran to one, two or three million pounds each. They 
did not rank with the 26,000,000 or 27,000,000 
pounds turned out by Liggett and National, or the 
10,000,000 figure approached by Drummond, But- 
ler, Lorillard and Sorg. 

Actually, the victory of the West was not so 
overwhelming as the plug situation alone would 
indicate. During the last quarter of the nineteenth 


' 'ftT^M^-^ '•^^^ ■ t t^ "^-^^eK 

, world, " e ra «A- s % tobacco fj'^e in T n . 
/«« «»*'"• Sai M W'eent, m " " or/ 

J 39 

Plug tobacco was made in rectangular slabs about 
an inch thick, three by sixteen inches or so, and 
a pound in weight, scored for cutting into small 
chews. Star brandtypified" Missouri manufactured." 

century, while the West concentrated almost wholly 
on quid, North Carolina and Virginia were riding 
upward on a new, fast-selling product - bagged 
smoking tobacco for pipes. This product was soon 
to replace plug as the common man's 'baccy, and 
ultimately to spawn an even greater growth item, 
the cigarette. 

Thus, even within the manufactured tobacco 
field, Virginia and North Carolina were able to 
maintain their position and weather the assault of 
sweet Burley plug. In 1890 the two Atlantic states 
accounted for 33% of the nation's smoking and chew- 
ing output. During the 90s the western plug fac- 
tories dented this to 28%, but by 1904 the Virginia- 
North Carolina volume was back to its customary 
third, where it remained until World War I. After 
that conflict, the 33% increased to 40%, although total 
manufactured tobacco production had begun a 

National market was "tied" together in railroad- 
building rush of 1862-1883. Work train of Union 
Pacific inched across the plains of Nebraska and 
Wyoming guardedby soldier and Indian scouts, was 
called "Hell on Wheels" National brands, uniform 
quality developed concurrently with railroad net. 

sharp decline that continues to the present day. 

Not that the mighty plug towns of the Mississippi 
did not make an effort in the field of smokings. 
Almost every sizable plug plant added pipe mix- 
tures to its line. But the leaf requirements, the 
flavoring touch, the cutting, the packaging were all 
different from those of chew processing. Missouri 
never exceeded a 7,000,000-pound annual output 
of pipe tobaccos; Kentucky-meaning Louisville- 
achieved twice as much volume as Missouri by 


1906, but even this was less than 10% of the national 
total, and no threat to the Virginia-North Carolina 
poundage (40,000,000 pounds in 1904, 55,000,000 
in 1909, 68,000,000 in 1914). 

National ties 

The frenzied pursuit of volume by the mid- 
western plugmakers, and the more profitable growth 
of smoking tobaccos centered in the East, marked 
the emergence of tobacco as a national industry. 

While cigar brands were still regional favorites 
rather than national brands (to a considerable 
extent, they are still); and while cigarettes were 
incubating as an exotic novelty in the big cities; 
bags of smokum and boxes of plug were achieving 
national distribution and national reputation. This 
changeover from local factories spewing forth thou- 
sands of brands to the nationally advertised, widely 
known trademarked product was not peculiar to 
the tobacco business. The factor which brought it 


Mississippi packet, operating on schedule under a 
responsible pilot, replaced the brawling boatmen 
on whom leaf transport once depended. But rise of 

railroads meant that water routes no longer fixed 
the location of tobacco markets or factory towns. 
New Orleans, for one, saw tobacco output dwindle. 

about had nothing to do with the tobacco evolution : 
• railroad-building. 

The breakdown of sectionalism and the uniting 
of the country with steel ribbons was attempted as 
early as 1855, with Stephen A. Douglas, the great 
debater and political opponent of Lincoln, devoting 
his forensic talent in Congress to the matter of a 
transcontinental railroad. Legislation was not 
passed until 1862. For seven years afterward the 
track gangs sweated; Chinese by the thousands 
carved the Central Pacific right of way out of the 
Sierra Nevadas and spurted eastward across the 
Nevada-Utah desert. 

Meanwhile, rolling westward from Council 
Bluffs, the "Hell on Wheels" work train under mili- 
tary escort fought monotony, supply shortages 
and rampaging Indians across the Nebraska and 
Wyoming plains. Parallel and connecting lines 
came thick and fast after the Central Pacific and 
Union Pacific met in 1869 at Ogden, Utah; by 
1883 there were four transcontinental railroads. 
The old reliance on canals and rivers was ended; 
railroads made the U. S. a single whole, not 
only by making all corners of the nation accessible 
to settlers but by providing rapid and regular 
communications and deliveries to virtually the 
whole population. National brands, in tobacco and 

in other consumer goods, could not be launched 
until the steel ways were laid down to receive them. 

The quitting of the quid 

But the very process by which the big plug sellers 
were made available to every American made most 
Americans less interested in "eatin' tobacco." Radi- 
ating outward from the city factories, the railroads 
carried such intangibles as good manners, good 
dress, and cosmopolitan taste along with the stacked 
commodities in their rattling freight cars. The imagi- 
nary line with townfolk on one side and half-wild 
pioneers or prospectors or rivermen on the other 
disappeared. Pride in isolation and self-sufficiency, 
symbolized by the ruminant clenching of teeth on 
wad, remained only among the old-timers — and 
they were losing their teeth. The tendrils of the city, 
with its refined tastes and broad outlook, reached 
out to all but the most remote hillfolk. 

In part, chewing tobacco— whether on Margarita 
Island or on the scattered homesteads of nineteenth- 
century U. S.— was a function of space and solitude. 
Space, because of chaw's juice-generating charac- 
ter; solitude, because chomping was a substitute 
for chatter. In varying degrees the cigarette, the 
pipe and even the cigar were less offensive to non- 
smokers ( although the last-named form sometimes 


resembled chewing tobacco in the mouths of par- 
ticular consumers). They were, certainly, more con- 
ducive to conversation. If the philosopher Hobbes 
was correct in describing life in the natural state as 
"solitary, nasty, brutish and short," then the passing 
of chew signalized the arrival of civilization. In 
other words, the ascendancy of chawin' terbacker 
could not be assigned solely to the physical circum- 
stances of the chewer; plenty of it was molared in 
crowded cities. Chew was supreme when the city 
was dominated by the frontier and when Americans 
gloried in being common men, in the ancient Latin 
sense of the vulgus. Toward the end of the nine- 
teenth century, as the industrial revolution set in 
and the city came to dominate U.S. culture, Ameri- 
cans no longer played the prideful bumpkin but 
acted like urbane men of affairs. The quitting of 
the quid meant simply that men were no longer 
proud of their resemblance to animals. 

If life on the land became an extension of city 
existence, so did life on the water. The rivermen 
on whom the movement of leaf tobacco once 
depended— and who sometimes stole as much as 
they delivered— were supplanted by the Mississippi 
steamboat pilot. He was no thief, nor was he "half 
horse-half alligator," but the responsible operator 
of a city-sponsored transportation factory. It was 
altogether proper that Mark Twain, who learned 
life on the Mississippi as a river pilot, was not a 
cussin', spittin' savage but a cerebrator careful in 
his choice of words and careful in his choice of 
pipe tobacco and cigar. As a thoughtful man, it 
was inevitable that he should consider giving up 
smoking; and as a connoisseur of life, it was natural 
that he should do so not once and for all but 
"hundreds of times." 

For the tobacco historian, the significant thing 
about Mark Twain was that he— perhaps the most 

Best known of Mississippi pilots was writer Mark "Huckleberry Finn." Twain was a devoted pipe and 
Twain, perceptive chronicler of American life in cigar smoker, said he could give up smoking with 
the nineteenth-century Midwest and the author of ease and had in fact done so "hundreds of times." 


cosmopolitan citizen of the postbellum West— was 
a smoker and not a chewer, a thinker and not a 
"natcheral man." The pendulum of tobacco fashion 
was swinging back to the East. 

Plug war aftermath 

The abrupt tax increase of June 1898, from 6c to 
12c per pound, followed a year of tremendous vol- 
ume in plug sales. Much of the volume of 1897 may 
have been artifically inspired by the "bargains" 
offered in the course of price competition. No doubt 
many customers found it more convenient to buy 
a pound of plug for 25c and slice it into their pipes 
than to pay 65c for a pound of plug-cut or granu- 
lated mixture. Whatever the reason, chewing 
tobacco in 1897 accounted for exactly half of all 
leaf used in manufacturing— an amount equal to 
the weight of smoking, snuff, cigars and cigarettes 
combined. That this was attributable more to price 

than preference was shown in the first year of the 
higher tax: plug consumption dropped by 10%. 
Although the 12c tax was halved early in 1902, 
chewing tobacco never significantly exceeded its 
1897 peak in later years. In terms of per capita con- 
sumption or percentage of leaf used in manufacture, 
quid rode steadily downward after 1897. 

The great plug years of 1890-1910 were to rep- 
resent the high-water mark of tobacco manufactur- 
ing west of the Appalachians. During these years 
Missouri, Kentucky and Ohio kept 60% or more of 
the plug market. Toward the end of that period 
only one eastern plug town— Winston — held an 
important concentration of volume. In 1906 the 
Reynolds Company and its subsidiaries turned out 
well over 20,000,000 pounds of flat Bright chew- 
about a seventh of the nation's plug total — and 
boosted their share to a fourth by 1912. But because 
of the close relationship between smoking tobacco 

Midwest plug factories were oriented toward mass 
production. Louisville's National Tobacco Works, 
above, was one of the largest and accounted for a 

seventh of U.S. output. Plugs weighing one pound, 
measuring 3 x 16 inches, were sliced by retailer 
into five or six "cuts" each selling for a dime. 


and cigarette blends, Louisville, St. Louis and the 
other midwestern states never seriously challenged 
the East in white-roll output. Today 80% of cigarette 
volume originates in Richmond, Durham, Winston, 
Reidsville and Greensboro. Only Louisville remains 
as a midwestern making center with substantial 
volume, accounting for nearly a fifth of cigarette 

The exuberant growth of Burley and the thickly- 
sweetened navy plug processed from it had been 
more or less natural phenomena. When Virginia 
soil was worked-out and weak, the virgin acres of 
Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio luxuriated in sheer 
productivity. When the burned-out manufacturers 
of Richmond were groping to revive the past in the 
bitter smoke of Reconstruction, the lusty plugmen 
of Louisville and St. Louis, unharmed by war, were 
reveling in a frenzy of mass production. In their 
processing as in their planting, the westerner quid- 

men were oriented toward quantity. 

Possibly for that very reason their sway was brief. 
The new era, the era of national brands, the era of 
new developments and higher living standards for 
all, was not to rest on volume alone. Competition 
in quality, as distinguished from crude price com- 
bat, was to play a part; invention— agricultural and 
mechanical— was to play a part; alertness to the 
subtle ground swell of changing consumer prefer- 
ence was to play a part. Actually, Kentucky and 
Tennessee and Missouri and Ohio had learned their 
leaf cultivation from the experienced East. They 
had also learned prizing and preserving and flavor- 
ing from the handcraftsmen of antebellum Virginia. 
While they were occupied in applying these lessons 
with characteristic western vim, the older tobacco 
centers were acquiring new knowledge and new 
techniques faster than the transmontane tobacco- 
men could absorb them. 

Quantity was the word among Burley planters just largest wood frame structures of its type. Wooden 
as it was among plugmakers. This warehouse, built superstructure has been removed; same foundation 
in Owensboro, Kentucky in 1890, was among world's now supports two-story cigar manufacturing plant. 


Flue-curing of Virginia and North Carolina leaf, 
developed just before the War Between the States, 
gave the tobacco industry a new impetus. Southern 
tobacco was swapped for Northern coffee. Soldiers 
of both armies, mustered out in 1865, stimulated 
a national demand for the sweeter Bright tobacco. 


The difference between a colony and a self- 
sufficient nation shows vividly in the story of 
tobacco. For the better part of two centuries, Vir- 
ginians and their neighbors to the north and south 
had been, in effect, field hands to His Majesty. The 
dark "shipping leaf" they sent abroad improved 
but little during the export years — it only increased 
in quantity as the tobacco fields climbed beyond 
the tidewater and over the fall line. As chance 
would have it, part of the tidewater soil produced 
a naturally Bright leaf — the sweetscented. But as 
a slavish supplier of raw stuff, Virginia had no 
opportunity to develop its potentiality, to experi- 
ment, to specialize. 

Early in the nineteenth century, the second War 
of Independence was followed by a transformation 
of the tobacco trade and other economic pursuits. 
For this, the term "Industrial Revolution" has been 
coined, but it is perhaps just as accurate to describe 
it as a spiritual revolution. The widespread rejec- 
tion of pipe and snuff-box in favor of chewing was a 
surface manifestation of the new spirit. But the 
essence of the change lay deeper. In a mere genera- 
tion or two, without losing their export trade, the 

liberated Americans developed a wholly original 
mode of manufacture ( plug ) and at the same time 
perfected a new, superior kind of leaf tobacco 
(Bright) which in turn completely changed the 
world's tobacco tastes. All this occurred in the 
threescore and ten years following the War of 1812. 
And it was accomplished by people whose fathers 
and grandfathers and great-grandfathers had 
worked the very same soil year after year after year 
without let, plunging deeper into debt as they re- 
peated the seasonal round. 

The Tobacco Sack 

These people were the Virginians and North 
Carolinians living in what was called the "Virginia 
District" or the "Tobacco Sack" — the central belt 
of piedmont Virginia with a tier of half a dozen 
North Carolina counties forming the sack's flat 
bottom and the Fredericksburg-Madison line con- 
stituting the narrow neck. They began making 
"homespun" twist for chewing in much the same 
way as the New England farmers evolved the 
homemade cigar. Tobacco growers did not find it 
difficult to form dry leaf into a coarse, sometimes 


sweetened -twist for their own use. Storekeepers 
who took tobacco in payment for trade goods proc- 
essed it for sale at a profit without much trouble. 
As the population increased and the demand for 
worked tobacco grew, the rush to manufacture was 
on. Leaf dealers naturally turned to fabrication; 
a negro slave set up a small shop and bought his 
freedom with the profits; even gentlemen of the 
cloth entered the trade. 

Twist to lump 

During the eighteenth century, a wheel was used 
to fashion tobacco leaves into a rope or twist, some- 
times yards long. After a little aging, the twist could 
be sliced into shavings for a pipe, ground up for 
snuff, or chopped into bite-size chunks for chewing. 

The first step in this procedure was to strip the 
entire midrib or stem from each leaf, and for this 
reason the factories of Virginia were often called 
"stemmeries." The wheel was abandoned, and the 
delicate strip tobacco was fashioned into a twist by 
hand labor. The twist then went into a press for a 
few days, and was "prized" or compressed as tight- 
ly as wooden or iron screws would permit. The 

purpose of "prizing" — which was very similar to 
hogshead prizing on the plantation by lever or 
screw— was to distribute the moisture evenly 
throughout the final product. As pressuring devices 
were refined, the basic twist gave way to a lump, 
still shaped by hand and then compressed me- 
chanically into a cake or plug. 

As chewing became a national pastime, the de- 
mands of the market added infinite variations to 
the simple choice between twist and flat plug. 
Some liked their "chaw" natural, others wanted it 
sweetened. The number of possible sweetening 
recipes was infinite, and each manufacturer took 
infinite pains to keep his formula secret. The most 
important "casing" or flavoring ingredient was lico- 
rice, which was in use around 1830 by some of the 
119 factories in the Virginia District. ("Caven- 
dish" entered the tobacco lexicon as the term for 
licorice-cured leaf, from the name of a Norfolk 
exporter who used it as a preservative. ) But rum, 
sugar, tonka beans, cinnamon, nutmeg and a host 
of other spices and condiments were measured into 
the dipping vats as the number of chewers, brands 
and factories increased. 


Principle of plugmaking derived from 
the prizing or compressing apparatus 
used to pack hogsheads on the farms. 
Purpose of pressurizing chew was the 
even distribution of moisture through 
finished product to prevent spoilage 
in warm weather. Moisture control is 
still key to quality tobacco making. 

As is still the case in tobacco making, the most 
important single factor in quality control was reg- 
ulation of moisture. Dried-out tobacco is brittle and 
harsh; overly moist tobacco is subject to mould 
and decay. Many a box of plug and twist manu- 
factured during the damp Virginia winter held 
enough moisture — impossible to detect in cold 
weather— to spoil in the warmth of summer. Some 
selling agents refused to buy "first quarter plug" 
or "winter work" and it was frequently proposed 
that the plug factories should shut down from De- 
cember through March in order to preserve the 
good repute of Virginia tobacco. 

This was not done to any great extent, for the 
simple reason that the concept of brand names and 
its corollary, uniformity of product, had not yet 
taken hold. Here and there a manufacturer's name 
or that of a particular town stood for outstanding 
quality, but the bulk of factory output was un- 
branded, anonymous merchandise and the brands 
that did exist were small and local. Most tobacco 
was grown for export; in the early years of the 
nineteenth century rotten and waterlogged tobacco 
that could not pass inspection for export was 
plowed into domestic manufacture. If a consignee 
complained that last winter's production had 
turned mouldy, the obvious recourse was to change 
the consignee, or the brand name, or both. This 

approach to the market was inherent in an indus- 
try comprised of many small businesses; it still 
characterizes the fringe of the cigar industry. 
Where the advertising investment is negligible, as 
in the one-man shop or family enterprise, it is 
simpler to change trademarks than to maintain set 
standards of leaf quality or precision of manufac- 
ture. Conversely, where a well-advertised trade- 
mark has won a sizable portion of the market, ordi- 
nary prudence and self-defense dictate a special 
effort to preserve consistent quality. 

Gray land for Bright 

The connoisseur of "eatin' tobacco" soon came to 
demand that his quid be not only delectable to the 
tongue but also pleasing to the eye. Manufacturers 
began to search out hogsheads of smooth, light- 
colored leaf for use as wrappers; the more golden 
the leaf, the more it brought on the leaf markets. 
This was the circumstance that led to the develop- 
ment of true Bright leaf, rendered lemon yellow by 
a combination of sandy soil and forced curing of 
the fresh tobacco in barns heated by flues. Oddly 
enough, the clamor for bright-wrapped Southern 
chaw arose at about the same time dark-wrappered 
cigars in the Spanish mode were finding favor in 
the North. While Virginia manufacturers were 
steeping plug filler in licorice as a sweetening, 

1 48 

Yankee leaf growers were using it to darken their 

There had always been a demand, more or less 
sporadic, for "colory" tobacco, that is, a light, mild 
leaf of a yellow or golden hue and sweet aroma. 
Edward Digges satisfied it as early as 1650 from 
his gray land on the York, and some of the other 
tidewater planters, similarly favored, commanded 
premium prices for sweetscented leaf in colonial 
times. The belt of sandy soil extending through the 
center of Virginia came late to cultivation, as it 
was part of the less accessible piedmont. 

For two centuries the European market showed 
no great interest in Bright tobacco, for the very 
reason that it commanded premium prices. In 
France, for instance, the Farmers-General maxi- 
mized the profit from its tobacco monopoly by 
feeding strong scrap to its captive market. Most 
smokers, Frenchmen included, would rather smoke 
shag than nothing. Napoleon's campaigns through 
Europe, however, brought considerable numbers of 

French soldiers into contact with Russian ("Turk- 
ish" ) tobacco, and generated a demand for milder, 
more aromatic leaf. 

As this overseas demand for colory leaf strength- 
ened following the War of 1812, the naturally 
light color of Maryland leaf attracted attention. As 
a result, Maryland tobacco in general brought a 
higher-than-average price right through to the 
Civil War, and "Maryland" became a term used 
abroad to describe light-colored leaf. Around 1825 
the best "Maryland" was grown in the vicinity of 
Zanesville, Ohio. Some years later a sandy stretch 
along the Kentucky shore of the Ohio River, called 
Yellowbanks, turned out colory tobacco sweet 
enough for the English buyers. 

Revived interest in yellow leaf provided extra 
incentive for the movement of tobacco out of the 
tidewater and up onto the piedmont. The tobacco 
wharves of the Chesapeake were no longer the ex- 
clusive support of merchant fleets, for in 1803 cot- 
ton passed tobacco as the nation's leading export. 




// '--v.- " ...-■■.; 

Manufacture of chewing tobacco developed in four for wrappers, which enhanced the sales appeal of 
Virginia towns— Danville, Lynchburg, Petersburg, "Virgin" chew. Search for colory led to flue-cure 
and Richmond. Choice lemon yellow leaf was sought of Bright leaf and rebirth of Virginia-Carolina. 


"Tobacco Sack" comprised central belt of Virginia Ridge (dotted lines). Antebellum Virginia tobacco 
and north-central belt of North Carolina, bounded towns were all on rivers; postbellum centers of 
on east by the fall line and on west by the Blue North Carolina— Durham and Winston— were not. 

This was the combination of circumstances that 
shaped the Tobacco Sack in central Virginia. 

But it was the poor, sandy soil of North Caro- 
lina—known during the tidewater's golden years as 
"the land of tar, pitch and pork"— that contributed 
Bright leaf. Lightness and mildness in tobacco is 
achieved, literally, by starving the leaf as it grows; 
and the siliceous ridges of the Carolina piedmont, 
too thin for almost any other crop, were exactly 
suited to this purpose. The choice qualities of to- 
bacco grown on these ridges was to transform the 
"Rip Van Winkle State" into a world center of 
tobaccomaking. This, however, was not to tran- 
spire until after the War Between the States. Dur- 
ing the years when Virginia manufacturers were 
spreading the use of Virginia leaf in plug form, 

North Carolina was being deserted, many of its ex- 
hausted farmers leaving its exhausted soil to join 
the trek to the West. 

Slade's cure 

In 1839 an eighteen-year-old Negro on the Slade 
Farm in Caswell County, just south of Danville, 
Virginia, was curing leaf in a barn heated by wood 
fires. When the fires were almost burned out, he 
fed them with charcoal ordinarily reserved for the 
blacksmithing forge, since the woodpile was soaked 
by rain. Under the renewed blast of heat supplied 
by the charcoal, Stephen's leaf "kep' on yallowin 
and kep' on yallowin' and kep' on yallowin'." It 
also sold for forty cents a pound, as against the 
average ten cents. Such curings, achieved not en- 


tirely by accident, had cropped up on the Tobacco 
Sack markets before. As early as 1823 in Louisa 
County, Virginia, one planter was heating his barn 
from an outside firebox which delivered heat in- 
side via a stone-lined tunnel. In 1832 Dr. Davis G. 
Tuck of Halifax County (also Virginia) patented 
a curing method which used a stove in a tight barn. 
Charles E. Gage, director of the first comprehen- 
sive compilation of tobacco statistics for the U. S. 
Department of Agriculture and an authority on the 
history of tobacco cultivation, has noted that Tuck's 
schedule of daily temperatures, as published in an 
1832 booklet, closely approximates modern prac- 
tise. So the Slade cure, though accidental in itself, 
was the continuation of a long effort rather than a 
sudden change of direction. 

The essential feature of the cure was not neces- 
sarily charcoal but a thorough drying out of the 
leaves ("sapping") before the final intense heat 
was applied. This was accomplished, as yellow 
leaf production evolved, in two ways: (1) using 
ventilated barns, permitting the escape of moisture 
driven out of the leaves by the first gradual appli- 
cation of heat; (2) using flues to introduce heat 
without smoke. 

Danville' 's day 

Although this method — "flue-curing" — was not 
standardized until after the Civil War, the farmers 
in the Tobacco Sack region turned out fair amounts 
of colory leaf during the 1850s. James Thomas, Jr., 

Twisted tobacco rope gave way to lumps, also made 
by hand. "Lumpers" of Danville became famous for 
their accuracy, shaped lumps without using scales. 

Richmond's leading manufacturer, set up a second 
factory in Danville so that he could get first crack 
at such fine gold leaf as was brought to that mar- 
ket. (Caswell County, just south of Danville and 
Pittsylvania County, formed the first incubator for 
the new, true Bright leaf. ) If Jamestown was the 

Early manufactured tobacco center was Danville. 
The town was close to sandy piedmont farms which 
yielded naturally bright leaf even before advent 

G, e n e ral ViV jr°m aer°is th e Dan. 

of flue-curing. Small manufacturers moved to the 
place in order to get first crack at the limited 
supply of light-colored wrapper leaf grown nearby. 



A small town in the Blue Ridge foothills, 
Lynchburg became a tobacco center of first 
rank after 1840, when it was linked by the 
James River CanaltoRichmond.Buyerswere 

summoned by trumpet to the leaf markets 
or "breaks," so called because the first item 
of business was breaking open hogsheads to 
get samples on which purchasers based bids. 

cradle of America's leaf export tradition, Danville 
was the cradle of leaf marketing and manufactur- 
ing. Pittsylvania County was, in number of fac- 
tories, the nation's tobacco capitol early in the 
nineteenth century ( although Richmond was prob- 
ably the leader in weight of output from the first ) . 
The reason for Danville's prominence was nearby 
White Oak Mountain, which guarded a pocket of 
land especially suitable for growing Bright leaf. As 
the planters moved inland across the fall line, the 
Danville region was one of the first piedmont places 
to support tobacco culture. This in turn led the 
small manufacturers of the day to set up their fac- 
tories in town or in Pittsylvania County, where they 
could be within shouting distance of the choicest 

wrappers for their plug products. And this, of 
course, made Danville a capital leaf market, hun- 
dreds of farm wagons trundling in long lines across 
the covered wooden bridge over the Dan River 
during the season. 

Richmond's reign 

As the century wore on, tobacco manufacturing 
mushroomed. Factories in Virginia and North Caro- 
lina multiplied from 119 in 1840 to 348 in 1860. 
In the latter year tobacco products made in the 
United States weighed more than 100,000,000 
pounds (about one sixth of the total being ex- 
ported). Almost all of it was plug or twist, shipped 
in 125-pound wooden boxes with the maker's name 


and city stamped on the bare wood. The manufac- 
turing capital soon came to be Richmond, which 
had all the requisites— leaf markets, transportation, 
and banks. It also had shrewd businessmen like 
James Thomas, Jr., the "uncle" who taught young 
Dr. R. A. Patterson the tobacco trade. Patterson's 
daring use of Kentucky Burley in Richmond-made 
plug was about the only trick his Uncle Jim missed. 
Thomas was among the first to recognize the im- 
portance of "bright yellow lumps." He was among 
the first to ship quality chewing tobacco (i.e., 
mould-proof quid) to California during the Gold 
Rush years, thereby achieving a virtual strangle- 
hold on that state's business. 

On hearing about the firing at Fort Sumter, 
Thomas shipped all the tobacco he could lay his 
hands on to his agents abroad and at the same time 
laid in as large a leaf inventory as his facilities 
could hold. In the years of blockade and shortage 
that, followed he profited handsomely enough to 

equip a battery of Confederate artillery at his own 
expense, and became an unofficial financial ad- 
viser to Jefferson Davis' government. 

Another well-known Richmonder, Robert A. 
Mayo, supplied the navy with plug under the logi- 
cal brand name— much-imitated later on— of Navy 
Tobacco. Because of his contractual relationship 
with the Federal Government, the local Whig 
newspaper objected to his candidacy for public 
office in 1850. The reply of the Democratic news- 
paper is a classic of tobacco lore: "Mr. Mayo sim- 
ply sells his tobacco to the United States Govern- 
ment and gives a quid pro quo." 

Lone Jack of Lynchburg 

Lynchburg, where James Thomas, Jr., started 
his career as a leaf buyer, was comparable to 
Richmond and Danville in antebellum importance 
and was known as "The Tobacco City." In addition 
to its forty plug and twist factories— almost as many 

Lynchburg turned out the only antebellum smoking 
tobaccos of any consequence. One was Killickinick 
and the other, made in the modest building above, 

was Lone Jack. Before the Civil War, pipe tobacco 
was a byproduct of chew; outside Lynchburg there 
were few firms devoted purely to smoking mixtures. 


as in Richmond— Lynchburg witnessed the remark- 
able growth of Maurice Moore as a manufacturer, 
starting from scratch. Moore concentrated on what 
was then a specialty — granulated tobacco for pipe 
smoking — and captured half of the market in that 
category by the outbreak of War Between the 
States, his big brand being Killickinick. Another 
colorful Lynchburg figure was John W. Carroll, 
supposed to have staked his all on a lone jack in a 
card game and to have repaid the kindly fates by 
naming his principal tobacco brand Lone Jack. 
Others advanced a simpler explanation, Jack Car- 
roll having wandered into Lynchburg alone and 
fundless, prospering as a lone Jack. 

The New York f actor (s) 
But if Richmond, Danville, Petersburg and 
Lynchburg had leaf, New York (which got in on 
everything) had money and salesmen. Owing to its 
vast labor pool, the Big City was already taking 
the play away from New England in cigar manu- 
facturing. It also developed a concentration of plug 
factories second only to Virginia's. More impor- 
tant, New York was the financial center for all in- 
dustry and the marketing center for many— includ- 
ing tobacco products. Most of the Virginia output 
went on consignment to New York factors, who in 
turn sold it to wholesale jobbers throughout the 
nation. To the antebellum Virginia manufacturer, 
the concept of salesmanship was quite remote; he 
expected his quality product to "sell itself," as, in- 
deed, tobacco always had. Consequently his selling 
was confined to occasional horse-and-wagon trips 
to nearby towns; many southern retail houses ac- 
tually got Virginia plug from New York distribu- 

tors! This consignment system played a part— by no 
means a minor one— in turning the Era of Good 
Feeling into the Era of Civil War. The difficulty 
with the system was mainly the long credit— up to 
twelve months— extended by the factor (present- 
day practice is, on the average, thirty days with a 
discount for payment in ten). This long recovery 
time often forced manufacturers to turn over their 
factors' acceptances to Richmond banks, at a dis- 
count, for needed cash. During the panic of 1857, 
New York factors failed to meet their acceptances 
and the burden of meeting or guaranteeing them 
fell on the southern manufacturers. Seven out of 
eight in Richmond were reported to have sus- 
pended operations in 1857 as a direct result of the 
defaults of their Northern agents. A convention of 
Virginia and North Carolina tobacco processers re- 
solved to "require" their agents to limit credit 
henceforth to four months. But the differences be- 
tween South and North were too great to be solved 
by resolutions. 

Split leaf land 

It was significant that the Confederate States of 
America chose as its capitol Montgomery, Ala- 
bama. Economic determinists would call the strug- 
gle between North and South a cotton war, not a 
tobacco one. Despite the difficulties of long-range 
marketing on consignment— reminiscent, to a de- 
gree, of the ill feeling between the tidewater plant- 
ers and their London agents— the custodians of the 
pivotal tobacco-making industry saw no solution in 
war. Nevertheless, it was time to choose up sides, 
and the tobacco states split: Maryland, Kentucky 
and Missouri to the Stars and Stripes, Virginia, 










Although manufactured snuff was taxed as early as raise funds for military operations. The earliest 
1794, the first non-sumptuary tobacco excise was rates were 5c per pound on manufactured tobacco- 
levied by the U.S. Government in 1862 in order to now 10c— and 40c per thousand cigarettes— now four 


North Carolina and Tennessee to the Stars and 

Exports dropped, but not enough to jeopardize 
the European market. Kentucky, finding the New 
Orleans gateway closed again after fifty years of 
Mississippi riverboating, sent its hogsheads to the 
New York docks by rail. Louisville and Cincinnati 
became the big tobacco markets, and Kentucky the 
No. 1 source of leaf. 

Taxes for the troops 

The War Between the States may not have been 
a tobacco war, but it developed something which 
has influenced tobacco and its market ever since: 
the U. S. excise tax. Enacted on July 1, 1862, it was 
originally intended to raise funds for the govern- 
ment's military operations. 

The tobacco tax was official recognition of the 
fact that manufactured tobacco had "arrived." 
Alexander Hamilton's investigation of 1794 had 
generated only a "luxury tax" on snuff: common to- 
bacco was untouched. The ostensible reason was a 
reluctance to place a burden "upon the poor, upon 

sailors, day-laborers, and other people of these 
classes." At the same time it was true that snuff 
could not be ground conveniently at home but had 
to be manufactured, while quid and pipe tobacco 
was homegrown leaf more often than otherwise. 
So the decision to tax snuff was at least partly based 
on the practical consideration of enforceability. 

Similarly, when Union Army support was 
needed, the very existence of factories invited a 
manufactures tax. A leaf tax was first proposed, but 
"the machinery for collecting a tax of the grower 
would be too extended to be practicable." Policing 
factory output, on the other hand, was easy. So 
"manufactured tobacco"— the term for smoking and 
chewing— paid 5 cents a pound to the U. S. Treas- 
ury during the war, an amount raised to 35 and 40 
cents as the war ended and lowered to 16 cents 
fifteen years later. The wartime levy was eight- 
tenths of a cent on a penny cheroot and four cents 
on a nickel cigar (then a high-priced item), but 
these were reduced in 1867 to half a cent per cigar 
regardless of value. Cigarette taxes were 40 cents 
per thousand at first, went to $2.00 per thousand in 











dollars. Before the income tax was levied in 1913, 
tobacco taxes were the chief source of government 
revenue; they accounted for 31% of total receipts 

as early as 1880. In 1958 the total of Federal and 
state taxes on tobacco products was more than 40% 
of their value at retail— over two billion dollars. 


The Confederate States discouraged tobacco grow- the James River Canal virtually halted the traffic 

ing very early in the war. Food and most manufac- in tobacco. This alone was a severe blow, for in 

tured articles were in short supply from the first. So a normal year between a fifth and a fourth of the 

were transportation facilities. Troop movements on eastern crop floated into Richmond via the canal. 

1865, $5.00 in 1867, and $1.75 in 1875. (The 1960 
rates are 10 cents a pound for smoking and chew- 
ing; one cent for a ten-cent cigar, two cents for a 
"fine cigar" retailing at 20 cents or more; and $4.00 
per thousand on cigarettes, or eight cents per pack 
of twenty. ) 

By 1880, when tobacco taxes were more or less 
stabilized, smoking and chewing accounted for 
50% of collections, cigars and cheroots for 40%, 
and cigarettes for less than 2%. At that time to- 
bacco revenue to the U. S. amounted to $38.9 mil- 
lion, or some 31% of total tax receipts. It can be 
said that manufactured tobacco "took over" in the 
early 1880s, for in 1883 Congress put strict limits on 
the traffic in home-cured leaf. Farmers could sell 
no more than 100 pounds of their own growing di- 
rectly to consumers in a year. Also, a tax was not 
required of a farmer or lumberman "who furnishes 
rations of tobacco to his laborers, not to exceed 100 

pounds during each tax year, provided he is not 
engaged in the business of a merchant, selling to 
others beside his own laborers." Such a regulation 
would scarcely have been passed had not home con- 
sumption dwindled to practically nothing. 

Although the excises on the several forms of to- 
bacco were varied from time to time, total tax re- 
ceipts from tobacco manufactures rose steadily— 
from $1.3 million in the first full year, fiscal 1864, 
to $58.1 million in 1910, $462 million in 1930, $705 
million in 1940, and more than $2 billion in 1957. 
Before income taxes were constitutionalized, to- 
bacco was the chief support of the federal govern- 
ment, accounting for more than a fifth of total U. S. 
revenue in the years leading up to World War I. 

In 1930 another kind of army— the army of the 
unemployed — posed financial problems which led 
individual states to add their own excises to the 
federal tax. In the next 25 years forty two states 

J 56 

imposed tobacco taxes (Virginia, North Carolina 
and Maryland being conspicuous exceptions ) , the 
aggregate receipts reaching close to half a billion 
! dollars a year. In 1958 Maryland levied a tax. 

In recent years cigars and manufactured tobacco 
have turned in less than 4% of all federal tobacco 
collections; their current taxes are about the same 
as the first levies enacted in 1862. Cigarettes ac- 
count for more than 95% of federal tobacco rev- 
enue, about $1.7 billion, the present federal tax of 
eight cents per pack being ten times the original 

Shrunken tobacco sack 

The Confederate Government decided early in 
the war to discourage tobacco growing. Leaf pro- 
duction in the Old Dominion, 123,000,000 pounds 
in 1860, dropped so sharply that by 1870, after 
five years of reconstruction, it was only up to 

37,000,000. Blockaded by sea, the South needed 
food even more than foreign exchange. Further- 
more, its chief tobacco regions were border states, 
directly under the Union guns. Richmond plants 
and warehouses became hospitals— one became the 
famous or infamous Libby Prison. Towns which did 
not figure directly in the fighting, like Danville and 
Lynchburg, suffered from dislocation of people and 
transportation facilities. 

Although the tobacco trade had come a long way 
since the days of Rolfe, Bacon and Culpeper, it was 
still dependent in large measure on water transport. 
Roads were rudimentary, and railroads limited. 
The era of the Virginia Tobacco Sack— 1800 to 1860 
—coincided with the age of canal-building, and the 
James River canal was a vital link between the 
piedmont farms and the markets at Richmond, 
located just at the Fall Line. This waterway, begun 
in Richmond in 1795, was gradually extended west- 

In Richmond itself, the largest and best buildings use. One brick tobacco plant, occupied at the war's 
were tobacco plants and warehouses. Many of these outbreak by Libby and Sons, ship chandlers, was to 
were converted into hospitals or to other wartime be known and hated by thousands as Libby Prison. 


ward, reaching Lynchburg by 1840. Since it con- 
veyed up to 20,000,000 pounds of leaf each year to 
Richmond, between a fifth and a fourth of the east- 
em crop, the James canal contributed much to the 
opening of the piedmont for planting and to the 
growth of Richmond into the top tobacco town. In 
1835 it was renamed the James River and Kanawha 
Canal, the new title implying an intention to ex- 
tend navigation to the Ohio via West Virginia's 
Kanawha River. This could have brought the Ken- 
tucky crop within the Richmond-Lynchburg manu- 
facturing orbit, but despite the ambitious name the 
James canal never got farther west than the Blue 
Ridge Mountains. 

The canal's importance within Virginia was 
amply demonstrated by the requirements of war. 
Troop movements to the Richmond bastion vir- 
tually ended hogshead traffic and this, together 

with the conversion of Richmond's warehouses into 
hospitals, dumps and prisons, directly affected Vir- 
ginia tobacco manufacture. Production began to 
shift southward to the small, out-of-the-way towns 
in the leaf areas of North Carolina. 

It is clear that tobacco manufacturing in the four 
big river towns of Virginia was seriously crippled, 
where it was not paralyzed, for the duration. It is 
not so clear exactly what happened in the rural 
leaf areas, but there is no doubt that quite a few 
planters were left with considerable tobacco on 
their hands at the outbreak of war. There was no 
ready market in which to sell it, and in fact not 
much could be purchased with the currency the 
tobacco might bring. Aparently what took place 
was a farmers' holdback of tobacco similar to the 
farmers' holdback of milk and eggs in Britain dur- 
ing the blitz years of the 1940s. Manufacturing tech- 

The burning of Richmond a week before Appomat- 
tox was accidental. Confederate troops intended 
only to burn valuable leaf tobacco before withdraw- 

ing from the city, but the fires got out of control. 
This Currier and Ives lithograph of the holocaust 
somehow fails to convey any real sense of tragedy. 


nique was not at that time a mystery outside the 

city factories, and doubtless many farmers were 

able to make acceptable flat plug at home from the 

bright yellow leaf they had started to grow and 


One result of this was a "temporary" wartime 

shift of production from the established centers to 
out-of-the-way country towns, particularly in the 
Old Belt of North Carolina. Like many such meas- 
ures, they ended up by being anything but tem- 

Aside from the farmers who took temporarily to 
manufacturing, there were those who seized on the 
wartime shortage as an opportunity to set up a rural 
business, perhaps raising the leaf themselves. 

Gray rations for Blue 

It was possible to commandeer a factory and 
divert freight cars, but it was not possible to destroy 

the taste for tobacco. Realizing this, farmers in the 
beleaguered Southern states continued to plant and 
cure tobacco against the recommendation of the 
Confederate Congress. As in earlier centuries, 
sheafs of tobacco served as currency, being used by 
country folk to purchase what supplies were to be 
found in the retail stores. Morale among the troops 
made tobacco essential, and the Confederate 
States recognized this in 1864, when it authorized a 
tobacco ration to enlisted men. This was an act 
more symbolic than substantial, for the army ration 
by all accounts was of miserable quality. But Gray 
troops, deploying and fighting through the Bright 
tobacco country, were often well supplied with 
good tobacco by those who grew it, and a consider- 
able "export" trade in tobacco sprang up through 
the front lines. Coffee was the usual "import" from 
Blue troops anxious for the scarce Southern leaf. 

The new science of photography provided realistic structures had constituted the capitol of tobacco 
evidence of what had happened. There was hardly manufacture. To the left of the charred lamppost 
a downtown building that escaped total ruin. These at right a sign remnant reads "-—ctured —acco." 


After Appomattox, GeneralWilliam T. Shermanwith 
50,000 Union troops entered Raleigh, halted there 
to negotiate surrender of Gray army near Durham. 

While General Joseph E. Johnston parleyed, 30,000 
of his men had nowhere to go but Durham's Station. 
There they met and mingled withSherman 's soldiers. 

Some manufacturers were still operating in be- 
leaguered Richmond. As in all wars the demand 
for tobacco was strong, and a few tobaccomen were 
fortunate enough to possess inventories within the 
city. In spite of the astronomical price of leaf to- 
bacco, it may have been possible to turn a profit 
from manufacturing even without a large inven- 
tory cushion. 

Before Richmond was reborn, it had to die. On 
the night of Sunday, April 2, 1865, the end came 
for the proud center of tobacco manufacture. In a 
sense the final holocaust which cremated the city 
was a suicide; Confederate troops put the torch to 
the city's downtown tobacco warehouses to deny 
valuable leaf stores to Grant's advancing Army of 
the Potomac. Out of control, the blaze raged for 
days. It was still burning on April 9, when the sur- 
rounded Robert E. Lee sent his flag of truce to 
Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. 

Surrender to Carolina Bright 

The soldier demand for tobacco, a notable fact 
of military life in every war, combined with the 
southward shift of manufacturing to produce an- 
other surrender — a surrender by both Blue and 
Gray to the new Bright leaf grown, granulated and 
bagged in North Carolina. Lee surrendered the 
Army of Virginia to Grant on April 12 at Appomat- 
tox, but he did not take it upon himself to negotiate 
for Confederate troops elsewhere. General Joseph 
E. Johnston and his army of 30,000— a force larger 
than Lee's — were taking a position a few miles 
northwest of Durham's Station, North Carolina, 
while General William T. Sherman had come up 
through South Carolina with 50,000 Union troops 
and entered Raleigh. It was not until April 26 that 
a military surrender was concluded in North Caro- 
lina. Meanwhile 80,000 men had nothing to do but 
forage, an activity in which both Blue and Gray 
were well practised. Durham's Station lay squarely 
between the two armies who mingled freely in a 
mutual effort to dissipate boredom and find what 
creature comforts they could. The tobacco factory 
of J. R. Green could hardly be missed, being only 
a hundred yards from the railroad depot. Green 
made his product of the new Bright tobacco ( Dur- 
ham's Station was only 40 miles from the Slade 
farm where the famous accidental cure was ef- 
fected). Unlike the average manufacturer Green 


I'll'.'- •(,/ 

"Sherman 'sbummers"hadforagedtheir way through tobacco in J. R. Greens factory near the rail depot. 

Georgia and South Carolina (above). Johnstons men Weeks later, mustered out, they were writing back 

were also used to living off the land. When these for more Durham smokum. So a national demand 

armies milled through Durham, they "sampled" the arose for granulated Bright, called Bull Durham. 

did not press his leaf into twist or plug but shredded 
it, believing that a trend toward smoking and 
away from chewing was in the making. As luck 
would have it, Green's factory was chock full of his 
Best Flavored Spanish Smoking Tobacco, and the 
entire stock, with or without his consent, was con- 
sumed by soldiers of both sides. The result was 
that Green's little factory experienced the most 
amazing "run" in the history of tobacco manufac- 
turing. In a few weeks letters came into Durham's 
Station from mustered-out soldiers throughout the 
nation, all desirous of getting more of the Best 
Flavored Spanish. In order to protect himself 
against the numerous Durham Tobaccos and Best 
Flavored Spanishes which immediately appeared, 
Green adopted a picture of a Durham bull as his 
trademark. The official name of the product was 
Genuine Durham Smoking Tobacco, but it has al- 
ways been known as Bull Durham. For the next 

fifty years it was the world's best-known tobacco 
brand; Green and his partner W. T. Blackwell were 
smart enough to nourish the wide demand with ad- 
vertising, not only on billboards and posters, but 
also via newspapers, comic books, and with the 
inevitable premium clocks. Green's advertising 
campaign was almost as significant for the indus- 
try's future as the overnight renown Bull Durham 
brought to Bright leaf; the emergence of a national 
and international brand (it was truthfully adver- 
tised as "The Standard of the World" ) marked an 
abrupt departure from the hundreds of brands that 
preceded it, all depending mainly on local renown 
and word-of-mouth recommendation for sales 

Bull run 

A great many competitors — some of them Vir- 
ginians — rode the broad back of the spirited 


Bull. There were Old Bull, Black Bull, Jersey Bull, 
Bull's Head, Brindle, Bison, Bully, Buffalo, Wild 
Buffalo and Buffalo Bill; Durham Gold Leaf, Magic 
Durham, Bosebud Durham, Pride of Durham, Billy 
Boy Durham, Ram Durham, Nickel-Plated Dur- 
ham, and Ten Cent Durham. Some rival brands 
combined the idea of the Bull with his Spanish 
predecessor, as El Burro, Eureka Spanish Flavored 
Durham, and Los Toros Tobaco de Fumar. Perhaps 
the most far-fetched variant was Sitting Bull Dur- 
ham. But the Genuine Bull reigned supreme, and 
by 1884 the four-story white stone Bull Durham 
factory alongside the Durham railroad tracks was 
the world's largest tobacco plant. 

Carolina renaissance 

In the Bright Belt of which Durham's Station 
immediately became the manufacturing center, the 
big plantation pattern of the tidewater culture was 
not repeated. There were several reasons. First, and 
probably most important, slave labor was no longer 
to be had. Second, not all the soil is the gray type 
suited to Bright leaf: a given field might produce 
the finest lemon tobacco, and the next one full- 
bodied "greasy green" tobacco fit only for scrap 
chewing. Third, the new method of flue-curing and 
the handling of the delicate leaves after the cure 
required constant, careful attention; raising the 
better grades began to require intensive effort ( and 
still does ) . Yet, small farms or no— the average size 
was not much over 100 acres— the cumulative re- 
sult of the Bright surge was, as the Census of 1880 
put it, "one of the most remarkable transitions in 
the annals of agriculture." The town of Winston, 
in the ten years ended 1880, added a leaf market 
and fourteen plug factories and grew from 443 to 
2,854 inhabitants: most important of these was to 
be the R. J. Reynolds plant, started up in 1875 by 
the former tobacco pedlar of that name. Reids- 
ville, which did not exist in 1870, had a popula- 
tion of 1,316 in 1880 who ran nine plug and two 
smoking-tobacco factories. Durham's Station, a 
whistle-stop of 256 souls in 1870, grew to 2,041 by 
1880 and 5,500 by 1885; its growth in factories- 
from one to a dozen— occurred earliest, between 
1865 and 1872. The manufacturing transition in 
North Carolina was quite as remarkable as that of 
its agriculture. By 1880, the Virginia manufactur- 
ing industry had recovered from hostilities, show- 



The rage for Bull Durham was unprecedented. Also 
unprecedented was the national advertising placed 
by the Bull's makers to maintain national demand. 
Promotion included newspaper ads, premiums, bill- 
boards arid even comic books like the above. Also 
pictured (top right) but hardly big enough to be 
visible was a package of Golden Belt Cigarettes. 

ing an increase of 8% in value of product over 1860. 
In the same span, the increase for North Carolina 
was 100%. 

Duke of Durham 

Among the small farmers who participated in 
the explosion of Bright was a mustered-out widower 
of 45 named Washington Duke. Returning in 
1865, he found his 300-acre farm near Durham's 
Station fairly well foraged. However, before being 
conscripted in 1863, he had become convinced that 
Bright leaf had a bright future, and had stockpiled 
as much of it as he could. Some of the tobacco re- 
mained; with his children he flailed it in a small 
cabin, packed it into bags, and made a mule-and- 
wagon selling trip toward Raleigh. For a while 


Duke was a planter-manufacturer on his farm, and 
in 1874 Duke and Sons moved their factory into 
Durham near the railroad. This simple adjustment, 
logical as it now sounds, was not at all typical of 
Southern tobacco-making up to that time. Most 
country manufacturers regarded their plants as 
sheltered extensions of the farms and expected 
them to flourish wherever they grew. It was this 
rural impracticality that left many to wither and 
die as costs and competition rose and the margin 
for error grew smaller. To their Duke of Durham 
granulated tobacco the Dukes added, in 1881, 
Duke of Durham cigarettes. The growth of their 
business was steady but not spectacular until 1883, 
when they leased and improved a cigarette ma- 
chine devised by James Bonsack of Virginia. This 
was the last link in the chain of developments 
which was to make possible the American blended 

cigarette (though that product was still thirty 
years off): flue-cured Bright tobacco; Burley leaf 
of cigarette grades; and precision machinery. 

Chaw to smokum 

Although the Blackwell Bull Durham company 
responded to Duke's challenge by putting out a 
line of cigarettes, the big growth item of the day 
was smoking tobacco. Prior to the war, smoking 
tobacco had consisted simply of scraps left over 
from plugmaking, plus leaf that would not chew 
too well. A plug establishment was a different 
proposition altogether from a smoking product 
plant, and its smoking tobacco by-product not at 
all comparable to the sacked Bright leaf that was 
sweeping the nation — Bull Durham and its stam- 
pede of imitators. 

The transition from chew to smoking tobacco 

The 1839 flue-cure for Bright leaf was adopted by cabin lie flailed and bagged the leaf, a beginning 

many Old Belt farmers before the war. Washington typical of many a country tobacco business. A few 

Duke had stockpiled Bright before he was drafted, years later Duke made the uncommon transition to 

found some left on his 1865 return. In this little a factory proprietor in the bustling town of Durham. 


i'?» 5 2 b *.'?»» «» ■» 





(Trade Mark) 





'fr .'■■«/' 




Manufactured by 




Smoking tobacco lent itself more easily than chew 
to mechanized production and packaging, thus held 
out a higher hope of big volume and high profits. 
Bull Durham with its head start led all the rest. 

was, in simple terms, a mass refinement of tobacco 
taste. Chewing leaf was, and is, a dark, coarse, 
product that required virile taste buds. Originally, 
licorice water was added to transoceanic leaf car- 
goes as a freshener or preservative; early in the 
nineteenth century licorice and other sweeteners 
were added to improve the taste of quid. As the 
midwestern plug factories capitalized on the ab- 
sorbency of Burley leaf, loading it with sugars and 
spices, the "improvement" came to be almost self- 
defeating. In warm atmospheres, the heavily con- 
fectioned navy product would not keep; in colder 
climes, the sugary surfeit may have contributed to 
the popularity of cigars and pipe mixtures offering 
a more honest tobacco flavor. 

From the manufacturing viewpoint, the change 
from chew to tumblings was not entirely a radical 
one. Prior to the Civil War, pipe tobacco was sim- 
ply shaved plug; many smoking tobaccos are still 

literally labeled "cut plug." The art of blending 
originated, in a sense, with plug and was elaborated 
in the more easily mixed smoking tobaccos; dark 
Burley filler held in a Bright wrapper leaf was 
probably the first non-cigar "blend." The sweeten- 
ing or casing, if not overdone, was found to add to 
the pleasure of tobacco long before the age of Bur- 
ley chew. Cuban cigarettes were wrapped in 
cinnamon-flavored paper or cased with molasses 
before the white roll was accepted on the main- 
land; cheap cigars used rum, wine or molasses more 
or less as a camouflage. 

There were four basic types of smoking tobacco. 
Plug cut was the original "sideline" form, more or 
less accidental in its beginnings. Sliced from a com- 
pressed, flavored cake of tobacco— usually, in later 
years, the porous Burley— it lent itself to a wide 
range of textures : cube cut, curve cut, straight cut, 
wavy cut, Cavendish cut, granulated plug cut. 

Granulated or "flake cut" was worked through 
toothed cutters and sieved for uniform fineness; 
almost always this was straight, naturally sweet 
Bright leaf, cased lightly or not at all. 

Long cut, or ribbon cut, was shredded strip leaf. 
More often than not it was dipped Burley or a Bur- 
ley blend, and could be made in a variety of strand 
widths. Cigarette tobacco is a variety of long cut. 

The last and least category, scrap, was a byprod- 
uct of cigar manufacture; these cigar cuttings (leaf 
ends) and clippings (cigar ends) were both 
chewed and smoked. 

There were numerous advantages to the smok- 
ing tobacco business. It lent itself more easily to 
machinery, and thereby held out a higher promise 
of big volume to the successful entrepreneur. Cred- 
it for the first mechanization of tobacco production 
is given to the Richmond makers, who began 
"thrashing" leaf almost immediately after Appo- 
mattox (a method now used by some cigarette 
manufacturers in lieu of hand or machine stem- 
ming). The thrasher took the place of hand-flailing 
with a sassafras stick. Packaging, too, was mecha- 
nized in a way impossible with plug or twist; vari- 
ous packing presses and bag fillers were used in 
Richmond and Durham with greater or less success 
until the "bag jack" was invented by Rufus Patter- 
son in 1895. This contrivance weighed the tobacco 
into its muslin sack, applied the label, and stamped 
it so efficiently that some 1900 models are still 


.running (more accurately, shuddering) today. 

All this gave the smoking tobacco maker a wider 
.profit margin than the plug maker: specialized 
hand-work like that done by the famous "lumpers" 
of Danville— who could gauge the weight of a plug 
lump as accurately as a scale — was not needed. 
Also, the winter season did not carry the same risks 
of spoilage in making pipe mixtures as it did in the 
pressurizing of plug. For these reasons there was 
an early tendency for smoking factories to be urban, 
few and big, as against the tendency of the early 
country pluggeries of Virginia to be many and, 
relatively, small. 

Richmond revival 

While it required a hardy palate to chaw raw 
leaf, pipe tobacco can yield a good smoke with 
little flavoring or none at all. This recommended 
it to the 'hard-pressed Richmond trade during the 
War Between the States when sugar was in short 
supply. The idea of converting from chew to 
smokum was half-realized years before in the 
recapture of damaged or half -rotted plug; as a side- 
line, many factories took to flaking the bruised 
quid and selling it as pipe mix. These practical 
considerations were not lost on the resourceful 
tobaccomen of 1865, anxious to rise like Phoenixes 
out of the rubble of Richmond. By 1880 the city 
was turning out nearly a million pounds of smok- 
ing tobacco a year — far less than the four million 
pound rate of Durham and Baltimore, but at least 
comparable to the million-plus of New York and 
Jersey City. 

Interest in the exciting new item was particularly 
strong because the plug trade, antebellum main- 
stay of the Bright region, was being invaded by the 
Burley "pigtailers." Virginians were prone to blame 
the damn Yankees for not being able to appreciate 
fine (i.e., Bright) tobacco and thereby falling prey 
to the highly sweetened Midwestern twist. Nor 
were they as quick as manufacturers of New York, 
Kentucky or North Carolina to hitch their produc- 
tion wagon to the rising stars of salesmanship and 
national promotion. 

In retrospect, it appears that Richmond's tradi- 
tion of successful manufacturing prevented or de- 
layed its adoption of new, vigorous selling methods. 
The following letter, written in 1886 by one of that 
town's "fine old name" firms, suggests an inability 

Typical smoking tobacco was granulated to "pour" 
freely, sold in drawstringed sack for easy pipe load- 
ing. Plug cuts like Woodcock were also bagged. 

Bag jack, perfected in 1895, weighed tobacco into 
muslin sack, applied and stamped the label; 1900 
bag jacks are still operating efficiently today. 


Reopening of James River Canal to freight traffic to insure revival of Richmond as top tobacco town, 
after Appomattox was hailed as a great event. But Mass production of navy plug was threat fromWest, 
resumption of leaf tobacco supply was not enough vogue for Carolina smokum a threat from the South. 

to cope with the tidal wave of premiums on which 
cigars, cigarettes, smoking tobacco and plug were 
riding upwards: 

Dear Sir 

Your attention is called to certain imitations of 

tobacco which are being 

pushed by travelling salesmen under the stimu- 
lus of a large gift offered them by the manufac- 
turer. Will you allow goods to be forced upon 
you by these salesmen whose only object is to 
secure the costly presents offered them as a 
reward for imposing upon you? Bear in mind that 
these expensive premiums have to be paid for 
out of the pockets of the retailer and consumer, 
by having their full value taken out of the qual- 
ity of the tobacco. Any article that will not sell 
upon its own honest merits should be entirely 
avoided for they are only deceptions. If your 
wholesale dealer will not furnish you with the 

genuine tobacco, order direct 

from us. 

Between the lines of this letter one can sense a 
nostalgia for the days when reputation meant 
everything, combined with a certain bewilderment 
about salesmen's inducements in a free-for-all mar- 

In many respects, the Richmond men erred in 

staging a revival rather than a revolution. They 
aimed for a return to the status quo ante bellum, 
selling on consignment to factors; the North Caro- 
linians sent their own men to canvas not only the 
wholesale trade but the retail. At first, it appeared 
that Richmond was taking its old place as kingpin 
of the eastern region; four years after Appomattox, 
it turned out more than half of Virginia-North 
Carolina tobacco products, a sixth of the national 
manufactured tobacco total. In ten years more the 
sixth had been whittled to 10% while North Caro- 
lina had come up from 2% to more than 7%. 
Before the Revolutionary War, tobacco prominence 
meant planting; before the Civil War, planting and 
processing; after the Civil War, a third element 
was required: salesmanship. It was by selling, in- 
spired by the accidental sampling at Durham's 
Station, that North Carolina was to take the play 
away from proud Richmond. At the same time the 
smoking tobacco "Bull fight," focused in little Dur- 
ham, made the Old North State not only the manu- 
facturing center but the center of Bright leaf 
growing as well. 

Cotton to cutters 

Although tobacco was always a staple in Mary- 
land and Virginia, the art of leaf cultivation was 



Makeshift tobacco exchange was set up in Richmond, 
the former market building having been destroyed 
in the 1865 fire. Hands of tobacco from hogsheads 
in the warehouse nearby (below) were taken to the 
exchange by leaf dealers. While buyers sniffed and 
felt samples the auctioneer (seated, right above) 
conducted the bidding. Dispatch which accompa- 
nied sketch above reported that "the growth and sale 
of this staple in Virginia is just now but a mockery 

of what it was at the outbreak of the war," though 
"still of sufficient importance to be one of the 
leading items in the commerce of the State, if not 
its most important one." The observation proved a 
prophetic one. Although Virginia tobacco planting 
and manufacturing regained an important place, the 
center of Bright leaf cultivation shifted to North 
Carolina. Eventually, the Old North State became a 
leading manufacturer of tobacco products as well. 



Success of Bull Durham led to a stampede of bull tobacco was one of the most far-fetched of these, 
imitations. The "original and only" Sitting Bull airily disparaged all other bulls as "humbugs." 

largely confined to the James, York, Rappahannock 
and Roanoke (Dan) valleys. Diversified crops 
became the watchword following the Revolution, 
and after cotton became king in 1803, tobacco 
planting moved upriver, found its niche in the 
"Tobacco Sack" area and stayed there. Granulated 
tobacco in Durham and gritty adherence to Bright 
flat plug in Winston changed this completely. It 
took some doing: in 1885, for instance, the citizens 
of Winston organized their own company to com- 
plete a rail line connecting with the Roanoke and 
Southern. North Carolina became a rich agricul- 
tural state; roads and railroads laced the once- 
deserted piedmont, and fingered their way into 
South Carolina and Georgia as well. 

The excitement of the 1880s in the North Caro- 
lina piedmont could hardly go unnoticed in the 
coastal plain. Cotton was still king below the fall 
line, but his subjects were restive as prices dropped 
to eight cents a pound. Bright tobacco averaged 
over thirteen cents a pound during four crop years 
in the 80s, and in the other years did not dip much 
below ten cents. The farmers of eastern North 
Carolina, however, were not thinking in terms. of 
averages. During the heyday of the Virginia plug- 
makers, wide publicity attended the sale of fancy 
yellow wrappers for 40c, 50c and even more. The 
smoking tobacco trade generated a demand for 
yellow cutters— so-called because the leaf was thin 
enough to be shredded — and it was found that 


cutters good enough to bring 25c a pound could 
be grown almost within sight of the Atlantic 
Ocean. Tobacco, which a hundred years before 
had climbed laboriously up and over the fall line, 
now spread downward to the North Carolina "tide- 
water." The whole story can be told in two jingles, 
both circulated during the 90s: 

Fi-cent cotton and ten-cent meat — 
How in the world can a po' man eat? 

And, from the poetic pen of a promotion-minded 

warehouseman of the new Eastern Belt: 

Cotton was once king 
And produced Carolina's cracker; 
But now we have a better thing — 
The glorious Bright Tobacco. 

It would be inaccurate to describe the spread 
of Bright tobacco culture as an overnight revolu- 
tion. Human perception, in agriculture or manufac- 
ture or even consumption, is not that quick. During 

the entire thirty-five years from Appomattox to 
the turn of the century North Carolina Bright 
averaged about 10c per pound on the leaf markets; 
during the same period the old-fashioned dark, 
fire-cured Virginia — smoked like that state's re- 
nowned ham — never reached the 10c level, aver- 
aging somewhere near 6c. The handwriting was on 
the wall a long time before it was read by the 
farmers en masse, for the main sweep of tobacco 
into the coastal plain did not take place until the 

Once started, it overreached itself, as most mass 
social and economic movements seem to do. In an 
attempt to build up in western Carolina lucrative 
warehouse businesses such as those in Durham and 
Winston, entrepreneurs of the 60s and 70s distrib- 
uted a pamphlet of instruction and panegyric to 
farmers in the Blue Ridge counties. With the 
unerring instinct of promoters, they secured the 

Market growth of granulated flue-cured Bright led in the Carolina "tidewater" owed their existence 
cotton farmers of coastal North Carolina to raise partly to Bull Durham, partly to five-cent cotton, 
tobacco. Large warehouses like this at Greenville Commontobaccoaveragedovertencentsduring80s. 


authorship (or signature.) of a former member of 
the state legislature. "Conjecture is lost," wrote one 
Asheville prophet, "in the contemplation of what 
the tobacco industry will do for this county in a 
few years, at the present rate of increase." But the 
tobacco produced in Buncombe county proved 
strong and rank, and after a few wild years the 
tobacco fever passed, leaving only bitter memories 
and bald hillsides. 

Social register of tobacco 

The positions occupied by plug, cigarette and 
smoking tobacco during the postwar revival of the 
Bright region are best suggested by their brand 
names. The placename "Durham," with or without 
a variant of "bull," dominated the pipe brands and 
told its own story; it was not necessary to consult 
the census of 1880 to realize that Durham led all 
the rest in smoking tobacco (although Maryland, 
which originated many of the rival "bully" brands, 
was second). In the wide-open smoking sweep- 
stakes, consciousness of brand name — inspired, no 
doubt, by the commercial magic of the word "Dur- 
ham" — became quite as painful as it was in plug 
competition. All the obvious names were used and 
blithely re-used: in 1886 the Bulls were too numer- 
ous to count; there were thirteen Spanish Mixed 
made in as many different plants between Detroit 
and Durham; and there were at least ten Old Ken- 
tucky mixtures and sixteen variations on the old 
Indian word kinnikinnick, somehow transmogrified 
into Killickinick (B. 6- O. Killickinick, Tip Top 
Killickinick, Capital Killickinick, Virginia Killicki- 
nick, St. Jacob's Killickinick, and so on). Daniel 
Scotten of Detroit, one of the few big plugmakers 
to achieve big volume in smokings as well, boasted 
an especially piquant array of labels, designed to 
play on every chord to which the fickle customer 
might respond. One brand was named What are 
Ye Givin Us, another Who Says We Haven't Got 
It Now, and a third, simply, We Got. There was 
Get There Eli and Eli Got There After a While; 
Dats de Stuff, Live and Let Live, I've Caught You. 
In a self -deprecatory spirit Scotten marketed Same 
Old Thing, Old Hat, Good Common Smoking, 
Glass Blowers' Choice, Cheap John, Buncombe, 
Stunner, Buzz Saw, Gold Brick and Barbed Wire. 
In prouder vein he offered Just a Little the Best, Its 
a Daisy, I Cry For It, Give Us Some More, Kerect, 

vgr--- -^n 

<• r 


' ' "( t ft • | - y! : <j | ■-<, I 

Tobacco manufacturing started up in almost every 
large city after the Civil War. Brand names were 

and Beats the Dickens. In cryptic mood were 
Mother-in-Law, Shoo Fly, Come and Fan Me, Tut 
It There and Ish Dot So. 

Scotten was not unique in this verbal competi- 
tion. Gail & Ax of Baltimore offered Toodles; Kim- 
ball of Rochester, Rock Bottom; Catlin of St. Louis, 
Solid Shot; Schwartz of Louisville, Paralyzer; Dur- 
vel of Cincinnati, Little Bone; Tolman of Chicago, 
Eye Opener; Beck of Chicago, To Please The Boys; 
and Allen, also of the stockyard city, Dinah's Big 

In their infatuation with the power of words, 
manufacturers of the 80s labeled their factories as 
well as their products. The Daniel Scotten factory 
in Detroit was the "Hiawatha Tobacco Works"; 
August Beck & Co. of Chicago named their four- 
story plant on Dearborn Street "Eureka Tobacco 
Works"; and the huge gabled establishment of 


r Smoke $OLD FLAKE C 



Chew G(LOBEJ.n E Cut. 

no more whimsical than advertising, as the above 
display on behalf of Globe of Detroit indicates. 

William S. Kimball in Rochester was "Peerless 
Tobacco Works." It was not pure coincidence that 
the three firms made, respectively, Hiawatha plug 
and fine-cut, Eureka fine cut, and Peerless chewing 
and smoking tobacco. Daniel Scctten was not one 
to let his rivals steal a march in the name game, 
however, and his Hiawatha Works produced a 
Eureka fine cut and a Peerless chewing tobacco. 
Not that this gave him a decisive advantage : there 
were thirteen plugs and smokums traveling under 
the Eureka trademark, nine Peerless brands beside 
the two made at the Peerless Tobacco Works, and 
some Hiawathas which did not originate in Detroit. 

Fancy versus folksy 

Cigarettes had fancy names, being intended for 
fancy city folk: Union Club, Opera Puffs, Vanity 
Fair, Entre Nous, Town Talk, Cameo. The majestic 

sophistication of these names suggests the narrow- 
ness of the cigarette market. In 1880, Richmond 
and Baltimore were the only cigarette-making cities 
of any consequence outside New York State. Each 
accounted for about a tenth of the nation's output. 
Cigarette-making was a newfangled novelty out- 
side New York; fewer than 500 persons were em- 
ployed in the Virginia cigarette establishments, 
compared with 14,000 hands in the chewing and 
smoking factories. The restraining factor was not 
any reluctance on the part of Richmond business- 
men to enter the new market, but rather the diffi- 
culty of training and keeping handrollers. A year 
later, one Durham manufacturer had to import 125 
experienced rollers from New York — most of them 
Polish and Russian immigrants— in order to achieve 
a beginning in cigarette production. 

As befitted common cud, most chewing tobaccos 
carried folksy appellations: Old Country Twist, 
Honest Ben, Big Chunk, Black Bass, Mountain 
Dew, Dixie Queen, Poor Man's Comfort. The aver- 
age plugmaker offered anywhere from 40 to 140 
brands, and in the search for new names was easily 
carried away with himself, as with Otto of Roses, 
Ring Coil Hot Cake, and the like. 

The mad proliferation of names was to continue 
beyond 1900, but a narrowing influence was already 
at work. Unlike the early plugmakers who de- 
pended on consignees and commission merchants 
to do their selling — often to their sorrow — the 
postbellum tobacco men, more and more, sold then- 
own. As time went on this tended to cut down on 
the number of pipe brands offered. 

This brand paring was no reflection of compla- 
cency: on the contrary, the exuberant competition 
that inflamed North Carolina was unlike anything 
the South had ever known. It was as if the ruthless 
spirit of Yankee enterprise had been wafted south 
of the Mason-Dixon line by the clouds of war. The 
word of the day, as proclaimed by the proprietors 
of Bull Durham, was "Let buffalo gore buffalo, and 
the pasture go to the strongest!" Enthusiasm for 
Bright tobacco was boundless. In its flush the Dur- 
ham manufacturers subsidized a company for the 
production of tobacco ointments, a three-century 
flashback to the prescriptive pretensions of Jean 
Nicot. A great horn, tuned to resemble the bellow- 
ing of a supernatural bull, was mounted atop the 
Bull Durham factory and cried a deep-throated 


Ai«3^aoj svMjavm'ssv 
3anjMnoAyoiS3g SNoSMDvrasn 

nOA U3A3 Jl'ClN3lfcU AHJ.HOM A|fl 












Invert this card and know the rest. 

Virginia fought hard to keep her chewing tobacco 
volume against the Burley onslaught. Depending 
on the point of view, this trade card for Jackson's 
Best chew is describable as ingenious or asinine. 

challenge to the countryside at intervals during 
the day. 

Storm center of plug 

The excitement infused new life into the old 
flat plug business, especially in the town of Win- 
ston at the western edge of the original Bright Belt 
(now called the Old Belt). Undaunted by the 
challenge of Burley, the Reynoldses and the Browns 
and the Haneses stuck strictly to Bright leaf. While 
Danville and Lynchburg wasted away for lack of 
enterprise, the Winston companies sent indefatig- 
able salesmen through the back country where 
proud Richmond plugmakers disdained to tread. 
In 1880, ten years after Winston became a tobacco 

town, it ranked eleventh in plug production and 
eighteenth in leaf converted to manufacture. Sev- 
enteen years later, the "Storm Centre of the Plug 
Industry," as Winston proudly described itself, was 
the third ranking city in manufactured tobacco 
(the "navy towns" of St. Louis and Louisville 
were first and second). 

Yet the success that came to Winston had its 
offsets elsewhere in the Bright tobacco region. The 
onslaught of Burley and the decline of Richmond, 
Petersburg, Lynchburg and Danville as chewing 
tobacco centers of the first rank led to this classic 
lament, published in a Richmond trade paper of 

Fifteen and twenty years ago every factory in 
Virginia and North Carolina, every one in Rich- 
mond, worked bright filler brands twist and plug, 
cable coil and lady finger, and other styles. The 
South was not the only great field of sale, but the 
demand came from California and Canada, from 
Maine to Texas. But smoking twist gave way to 
fine cut and plug-cut and fancy cuts, and soon 
business was cut to pieces as literally as the 
tobacco was. The burley juggernaut journeyed 
hither and crushed the life out of our fine fillers. 
We capitulated with little effort at defense, burley 
captured crew and craft, and went on crashing 
and cruising until it owned the country, and with 
this the transfer and transformation of business 
on tobacco has moved West until it centered 
there. . . . That it might have been held bv stra- 
tegy and effort is proven by the progress of Win- 
ston, N. C, manufacturing, which in face of the 
fact of lost prestige in older larger markets, that 
market has created and held business, bucking 
against burley on all sides, and Winston wins the 
day that way; and is a winner still, holding her 
ground not only but gaining . . . 

The "strategy" Winston used to buck Burley was 
the use of a little saccharin to sweeten its flat plug. 
In this way the absorptive advantage of Burley 
leaf was completely overcome, saccharin being 
several hundred times as sweet as sugar. This inno- 
vation, begun in 1895, enabled Winston to increase 
its flat goods business in a period when eastern 
plug sales generally were falling off and the na- 
tional use of quid leveling out. 

Stage set for the cigarette 

Actually, the desolate outlook portrayed by the 
Richmond trade journal did not turn out to be 


valid for the Bright region as a whole. In 1880, 
Virginia and North Carolina made a third of the 
nation's chewing and smoking tobacco; during the 
not-so-gay 1890s — a decade of depression — this 
share dropped to 28%. But early in the twentieth 
century the Bright country regained its third of 
manufactured tobacco output and held it consist- 
ently through the first World War. True, the re- 
gion's share of chewing tobacco alone declined 
from 43% in 1880 to 25% in 1899 (it recovered 
and maintained a 30% level until the first World 

War, after which plug-taking fell off abruptly ) . But 
the swelling sales of pipe tobacco easily compen- 
sated for the loss of plug business, even before 
growing cigarette volume was taken into account. 
In the minds of the Southern plugmakers, though, 
this was beside the point. Along with the tobacco- 
man's cherished traditions goes a kind of stubborn 
pride. This pride manifested itself in many ways; 
the names Stonewall and Stonewall Jackson, for ex- 
ample, became quite popular for Southern quid 
during the time of the Burley challenge. Brands 


Winston, North Carolina, was "storm center of the 
plug industry," stubbornly stuck to flat plug made 
of Bright leaf in the face of spectacular increase 

in Burley plug sales. Winston became third-ranking 
city in manufactured tobacco output, rejected old 
consignment system to develop its own sales force. 




Southern pride in flat Bright plug, heightened by 
war and the threat of Western Barley, manifested 
itself in Stonewall label. Montreal imitator, above, 
used Stonewall brand name to get Southern "flavor." 

with this name were made during the 80s and 90s 
in North Carolina, in Tennessee and in Virginia — 
but not in Kentucky or Maryland. ( One Montreal 
manufacturer tried to give his brand a bit of South- 
ern flavor by using the Stonewall name and a hand- 
some label of the dashing general on a black charg- 
er. ) 

The same streak of pride, sometimes described 
as "cussedness," typified many of the small manu- 
facturers. One such was William Taylor, raised dur- 
ing the war years in the Richmond area. After a 

teen-age start as a horse and mule trader, Taylor 
went to work for Cameron, then the largest Rich- 
mond tobacco firm. By 1879 he had eleven years 
of factory experience to his credit and was plant 
manager. After a journey to Australia, where he set 
up a tobacco factory in Sidney, Taylor set up in 
business with a partner in Bedford. Three years 
later he moved again, this time to Lynchburg. As 
senior partner of Taylor and Gish, Taylor made 
$22,000 his first year, invested all of it in leaf tobac- 
co, and lost all of it when his factory burned. In 
1883, at 32, Bill Taylor followed the drift to North 
Carolina, choosing Winston for a fresh start. At 
that time there were more than thirty tobacco firms 
in the town; but helped by his brother Jack, who 
came down from Richmond to join him, Bill Taylor 
hung on. Despite recurring offers to merge with 
larger firms, he kept Taylor Brothers Tobacco Com- 
pany independent and remained "boss in my own 
little puddle." 

Bill Taylor expanded his plant, acquired brand 
names like Ripe Peaches, Red Coon and Foot Prints. 
Like most of the independents, he was represented 
in the great "bull fight," with an entry named Bull 
of the Woods. Although Taylor was a seasoned hand 
at plugmaking, his biggest asset in the fight for sur- 
vival was promotional ability. In a time of plug 
price wars, he went after the goodwill of jobbers 
and retailers. In 1907, when Confederate veterans 
passed through Durham on the way to a reunion 
in Richmond, Taylor was on the spot to hand out 
samples of his Stars and Bars tobacco. He even 
"sold" his own employees, by cutting the workday 
from twelve hours to ten and then to eight: this 
enraged not only his competitors but also the newly 
organized unions who were trying to cut the work- 
day from ten hours down to nine. 

In his social life as well, Taylor became known 
for his "cussedness." When the local preacher ser- 
monized that "Money is the root of all evil," Bill 
rose in his pew to shout "I challenge that, sir! Love 
of money is the root of all evil, Doctor." Such inter- 
ruptions of Sunday harmony were more the rule 
than the exception; at one time the entire Taylor 
clan was dropped from the congregation. 

However detrimental to his religious standing, 
Taylor's stubborn streak lent strength to his little 
company. Taylor Brothers continued as an inde- 





ivf- , 



Richmond, still striving to regain its former top 
position in tobacco, followed New York into hand- 
rolling of cigarettes. Production was primitively 

pendent plug firm until 1952. In that year, nineteen 
years after Bill's death, his son Arch came to the 
end of the family line. With Arch's only son a mis- 
sionary in Japan and with no other Taylor man to 
take over, the "last of the independents" sold out 
to one of the large snuff corporations. 

Although Taylor and others like him were bold 
enough to move into new locations, they were not 
bold enough to move very far from the traditional 

slow, for the best cigarette girls rolled only 4-5 
per minute. To start cigarette production one Dur- 
ham firm brought foreign rollers from New York. 

Bright chew which was the pride of the Southeast. 
The future would belong to men willing to venture 
into new markets — first, smokings and later, ciga- 
rettes — in a wholehearted way. In the big cities 
capital was drawn to the mass-produced items (it 
took as much labor to make $1,000 worth of plug 
as it did to make $20,000 worth of cigarettes ) . In 
Durham, in Winston, in Baltimore, in New York 
and even in proud Richmond there were tobacco- 

Mam difficulty was in training and keeping girls and chew, 500 workers in cigarette factories. But 
skilled in cigarette rolling. Virginia population in "Virginia cigarettes" made exclusively from Bright 
1880 included 14,000 workers in smoking tobacco tobacco enjoyed growingdemandin U.S. and abroad. 



a ES rr 



For Richmond, chewing tobacco was still the chief 
product. Trade cards tried ingenious sales appeals: 
Jackson's Best was advertised as "Bright navy 




Early steam street-cars caused many runaways. One 
inventor tried to overcome this with an engine inside 
an iron horse. Real horses were not fooled for the 
noise and smoke of the engine still remained. 


contradiction in terms. Mail Pouch chew mixed the 
history of the trolley car with a slogan sounding 
rather modern: "Chewing serves to steady nerves." 

men who were not too proud to drop quid for smok- 

Smokum- to cigarette 

In point of taste and in point of manufacture, 
the cigarette developed not from the cigar but 
from smoking tobacco. Cigarette grades of leaf, 
though lighter, are intrinsically akin to the pipe 
grades. The cigarette blend evolved directly from 
blended smoking tobaccos — and, by and large, in 
the same factories. Prince Albert pipe tobacco was 
the antecedent of Camel; Lucky Strike sliced plug 
was the advertised forerunner of Lucky Strike cig- 
arettes. The factory-blended cigarette may well 
have been inspired by the common practise of 
using blended pipe tobaccos in roll-your-own hand- 
mades. Even the mighty Bull Durham, always a 
straight granulated Bright, had to take cognizance 
of this preference; by 1917 it was to be advertised 
not as "the makin's" but as an ingredient of the 

do-it-yourself blend — "like sugar in your coffee." 
Cigarette recipes are direct derivatives of flavoring 
formulas used for pipe tobaccos. 

Where the plug and the plug cut were lami- 
nated "cakes" in their finished form, the cigarette 
mixture consisted of single-thickness shreds. This 
difference posed the biggest problem in making a 
blended cigarette, for shredded Burley quickly 
loses its flavor. Separate dipping and overnight 
bulking of the Burley component — a cumbersome 
and expensive interruption of the production 
stream — solved this. 

Oddly, the cigarette making machine was "per- 
fected" for commercial purposes ten years before 
the bag jack for smoking sacks. But the cigarette 
machine was born 30 years too soon — in 1883, 
while the first big-volume national cigarette, the 
blended cigarette, did not debut until 1913. It too 
can be considered an offshoot of the smoking 
tobacco business, a precocious by-product of the 


long and intensive search that finally led to the 

bag jack. 

Although this search was focused in Richmond, 
it went on in other places which would now be 
called "cities" rather than "towns" — Detroit, Chi- 
cago, Jersey City, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, 
Rochester. All had one or more avid enterprisers 
who were trying to attain big volume in tumblings 
by intensively applying the new formula for big 
business — mechanization, direct selling, advertis- 
ing — along with many different formulas for pipe 
blends and casings. 

Baltimore transition 

Although the surge of smoking tobacco was a 
free-for-all, only one tobacco town kept pace with 

Durham's pipe poundage in the fifteen years follow- 
ing J. R. Green's soldier-sampling of granulated 
Bright. This was Baltimore. The robust rise of 
its smokum business had nothing to do with the 
geography of yellow leaf, as was the case with Dur- 
ham. It was, rather, a reflection of enterprising 
spirit. Baltimore society would never so describe it, 
but the place was changing from a southern town 
into a northern city. 

Several aspects of Baltimore's tobacco tradition 
set it apart from that of Virginia-North Carolina. 
Maryland leaf had always differed from the Vir- 
ginia; in Europe, it had the reputation of Bright 
leaf before true Bright leaf was flue-cured in quan- 
tity. The term "Maryland" had long symbolized 
better-than-average leaf, and this was no hindrance 


Richmond made valiant efforts to gain a foothold sizable Richmond factory to make smoking tobacco 
in newer tobacco products, and with some success, and cigarettes. Renovated in 1930, same building 
In 1886 the Kinney Company of New York built this now stems leaf for an adjoining cigarette plant. 


Every large city had tobacco factories soon after 
Civil War. August Beck of Chicago specialized in 
Eureka fine cut chewing, made in four-story plant. 

in Baltimore's entry into pipe tobacco making. 
There was also an independence of action in Balti- 
more's past that dated back to the palatinate days; 
while Virginia leaf was restricted to London sale, 
Maryland for a time shipped direct to Holland, 
France, and Sweden. 

As the massive Burley trade grew up beyond the 
Alleghenies, Maryland's status as a leaf producer 
was drastically changed. The state raised 30% of 

the U. S. crop in 1830, 11% in 1840, 9% in 1850, 
and 5% in 1880. In fifty years the second -largest 
tobacco state became the sixth; Maryland leaf in 
1880 was not a major crop but a specialty, out- 
ranked in poundage by Pennsylvania cigar filler. 
Maryland tobacco, as such, was no more suited to 
pipe mixtures than any other. It had a good rate 
of burn, was attractive to the eye and could absorb 
flavoring sauces, but it was rather neutral in flavor. 
Thus no "Maryland cigarette" or "Maryland mix- 
ture" ever gained great fame; instead the leaf was 
commonly used as a leavening ingredient in smok- 
ing mixtures (and later in cigarette blends). 

To a greater extent than Richmond, Baltimore 
adapted to the hectic postbellum years. The city 
on the Chesapeake was matching Richmond's cig- 
arette output in 1880; it was the nation's sixth 
largest cigar-making center, while Richmond could 
not get a foothold in the lucrative brown roll busi- 
ness. Baltimore firms, in fact, were among the 
"northern factors" selling Richmond plug and twist 
even before the War Between the States. It was a 
Baltimore man, George Watts, who risked $14,000 
for a 20% interest in the Duke firm of Durham in 
1878, while that company was struggling in the 
shadow of Blackwell's mighty Bull. So it is not 
surprising that Baltimore should have captured 









Despite all the promotion given smoking tobacco the 1920s. In terms of product poundage consumed, 
(red line), it did not match chew (black line) in smokings did not achieve the 1897 plug peak until 
poundage until 1911 and did not exceed chew until 1940, although it reached its peak of consumption 


about 15% of the new smokum market — almost 
identical with Durham's share — while Richmond, 
rich in plug, turned out less than 3% of the coun- 
try's smoking mixture. During most of the 1890s 
Maryland was the leading state in smoking tobacco 
output, with Baltimore's Gail & Ax, Marburg and 
Feigner companies as the bellwether producers. 

Baltimore's smoking output ran the gamut from 
plug cuts to long cuts to granulateds and "German 
smoking," a coarse, heavy product. It included a 
goodly number of "high-grade" blends, a term 
which generally meant finer leaf grades, often in- 
cluding such expensive ingredients as the smoke- 
cured Latakia from the Middle East and the strong- 
sweet Louisiana Perique, cured black by stewing 
in its own juice under pressure. As a natural to- 
bacco market, the port of Baltimore received leaf 
from every part of the country and offered a com- 
plete selection of smokum, from Red Indian and 
Miners Extra Long Cut to Fashion Plug, Old Eng- 
lish Curve Cut, Continental Cubes and the inap- 
propriately-named Seal of North Carolina. 

Between 1895 and 1910 Maryland-mixed smok- 
ings went from 9,000,000 to 20,000,000 pounds. 
Even so, the state yielded first place to North Caro- 
lina, whose output went from 6,000,000 pounds to 
43,000,000 pounds in the same fifteen years. (Ac- 


Kimball factory in Rochester, N. Y., the "Peerless 
Works," made smokings and plug. During 1880s this 
was also one of the top five U. S. cigarette plants. 

tually, Maryland dropped to third place in the lat- 
ter year, Ohio ranking second by virtue of its yearly 
spew of 30,000,000 pounds of scrap, then classified 
as smoking tobacco. ) 

The auctions 

It took the better part of a century — the nine- 
teenth — for the tobacco trade to work up to such 
versatile blending and manufacturing centers as 








on a per capita basis in 1918. Depression years of cigarettes during and immediately after World War 
the 30s gave pipes and I'oll-your-own cigarettes a II is reflected in the disappearance of half the 
last push. The trend of the market to tailor-made demand f or smokingtobaccobetweenl940andl946. 


Baltimore and New York. Differentiation of prod- 
uct, not only into cigar, smoking, chew and ciga- 
rette but also into the many types within each 
category, required precise differentiation between 
many grades of leaf. Thus, very soon after the War 
Between the States, "Baltimore agents" and "New 
York agents" were on duty more or less continu- 
ously in Danville, in Lynchburg and in Richmond 
watching for specific types of tobacco. 

During the export centuries, one hogshead was 
pretty much like another. "Ducked" ( waterlogged ) 
tobacco was burned or thrown out; a rough dis- 
tinction was made between Oronoko and sweet- 
scented, between Virginia and Maryland, but that 
was all. Leaf was leaf, and all the "tobacco note" 
represented was a specified weight of it. By the 
very nature of the system, picking and choosing 
grades was the exception rather than the rule. 

As small factories began to sprout in the "To- 
bacco Sack" after the War of 1812, this system no 
longer sufficed. Individual manufacturers began to 
buy not just hogsheads but particular hogsheads. 
Hence the picturesque trumpeter of Lynchburg, 
announcing that the hogsheads had been broken 
open for inspection. The official inspector gradually 
became the auctioneer— in many cases he was one 
and the same gentleman. Sometimes he was also a 
leaf merchant. But like the stock exchange broker 
who is not supposed to mix his customer's interests 
with buying and selling on his own account, the 
last function seemed unethical in an objective ar- 
biter of sales, and after a while the role of auction- 
eer was separated from that of commission dealer. 

The original purpose of prizing leaf into tight 
hogsheads on the farm was for protection in ship- 
ping tobacco over long distances (a mile over a 
"rolling road" was, to all intents, a long ride ) and to 
economize on shipping space. Markets like Rich- 
mond, on the edge of the piedmont growing area, 
continued to do business on a hogshead basis. Mar- 
kets like Danville and Lynchburg, smack dab in 
the middle of the tobacco fields, experimented with 
a loose-leaf type of selling. This was a convenience 
to the plugmaker who wanted to dress up his quid 
in choice light wrapper leaf; and it was bread and 
butter to the planter, who might realize four times 
as much money for colory tobacco undamaged by 
prizing and suitable for wrapper as he could from 
common tobacco bought for filler. The particular 

E. J. 

Headquarters for Sale of Leaf Tobacco. 

Sells more tobacco than any other warehouse in North Carolina or Virginia, 
and make* the biggest average*. 

•The Oldest Warehouseman in Durham. 

.Sold nearly eight million pounds of tobacco last year, for about 

one million dolinrs. 


and yon <rili bn-rore to get fcU market prices. 
S6?*Mark your name on each package, and give ftiO instructions by mail.-^sB 

prompt petuams *mo meuesT prices guapahteed 

In the Bright leaf country, warehousemen tried to 
increase their share of the "wagon trade" by paid 
advertising (above), prizes and barn signs (right). 

town where small manufacturer and Bright leaf 
planter could meet face to face to deal in tobacco 
was Danville, the only important loose-leaf market 
before the Civil War. 

In Richmond, where manufacturing require- 
ments and leaf sales both mounted into big-volume 
totals, the custom of "breaks" became cumber- 
some: it took too long to break open each and 
every hogshead in its turn. So in that city an Ex- 
change took the place of the auction warehouse. 
Leaf samples instead of whole hogsheads were 
inspected to save time and space. This method of 
selling was an expedient practised mainly in Rich- 
mond and New Orleans. The reason for auction 
sales as against state inspection to a single stand- 
ard was to permit each manufacturer to do his own 
inspecting, and the exchange system did not serve 
this purpose too well. 


Today's curing barn resembles the type used since to conduct heat without smoke from an outside fire 
Civil War emergence of flue-cured Bright tobacco, into the barn, vents to let out moisture before it 
Basic requirements include a supply of fuel, flues can condense on the hotted-up tobacco and stain it. 

In the country towns space was not so much of 
a problem, and huge sales sheds (which retained 
the export name of "warehouse" ) could be erected 
in central locations. Time was saved by the devel- 
opment of fast-talking auctioneers on the one hand 
and quick, keen-eyed buyers— "men who know 
tobacco best"— on the other. The latter were, at 
first, the small manufacturers themselves who fre- 
quented the warehouses throughout most of the 
year. Their ranks were swelled in the heavy season 
by speculators skillful enough to turn a slim but 
fast profit by gauging the ebb and flow of supply 
and demand. Aware of the dislike of manufacturers 
for mixed lots, these small dealers could make 
money by buying up such lots and reclassifying 
them for more lucrative sale— all done in a few 
minutes on the warehouse floor. Some of them, 
called "pinhookers," bought leaf in the street from 

impatient growers and resold it in the warehouses. 
These pinhookers were not above scouting the leaf 
country and frightening farmers into distress sell- 
ing with rumors of overproduction, disappearance 
of important buyers from local leaf centers, and the 
like. The amount of this "barn door buying" was 
not very great, however. For most farmers it was 
a matter of pride (plus the fun of a trip to town) 
to take their chances on the auction floor. 

Warehousing in volume was not an unprofitable 
occupation, since fees were fixed by the hundred- 
weight. Accordingly each proprietor did his best 
to attract as much of the "wagon trade" as possible 
to his own establishment. There were three major 
inducements: a short distance for the farmer to 
travel; a quick cash payoff; and promotion of the 
auction house via poster, painted barn messages, 
and even paid advertisements in periodicals. Of 


Turn-of-the-century auction was messy by current dirt. Today, the white-haired gentleman squatting 
standards. Tobacco was piled on floor, picked up on the tobacco would be requested to sit elsewhere. 

these the first turned out to be the most important, 
especially after the hogshead yielded to the care- 
fully-arranged basket of loose leaves. Mahomet 
went to the mountain, and leaf markets gravitated 
to small or medium-sized towns in the tobacco 
country (where they still remain). The big city 
leaf markets — Richmond, Petersburg, Louisville 
and Cincinnati— lost their big volume. 

After the turn of the century, refinements were 
added. Loose-leaf sales made literally "on the floor" 
proved somewhat messy in the day of the horse; 
baskets were introduced, and these not only got 
the piles up off the floor but could be quickly 
whisked out of the way as they were sold, making 
room for fresh ones wheeled out for sale. The tra- 
ditional tin bugle gave place to a bell. Sales which 
were originally spaced somewhat unevenly 
throughout the twelve months were compressed 
into a few weeks, buyers making the "circuit" from 
one market to another and procuring the varie- 
gated assortment of types and grades needed in 

modern blending and manufacture. This greatly 
increased the speed of transactions; from a pile-a- 
minute pace in 1870 the chant of the tobacco auc- 
tioneer accelerated to a dizzy rate of a pile every 
six or ten seconds. 

More specialized than the auctioneer himself 
was the highly trained buyer of "cutters" for use 
in smoking mixtures and, later, cigarette blends. 
In a few seconds, with a glance and perhaps a 
quick brush of his hand, he had to make an esti- 
mate of leaf qualities described as "body," "flavor," 
imisn, strength, slickness, burn, and 
"aroma," relate these to the needs of his own com- 
pany, and translate the two into a bid. Instilling the 
necessary skill and judgment into a leaf-buyer now 
requires in the neighborhood of five years. Nor is 
the language of leaf an esoteric mumbo-jumbo 
without precise meaning: as chemical analysis of 
tobacco prior to market openings became general, 
the laboratories confirmed in scientific terms what 
the buyers had known for decades. 


Beginning in 1929 the Department of Agricul- 
ture was to recognize up to 60 or more grades in 
each of seven cigarette leaf types: Burley, Mary- 
land, Georgia Belt, South Carolina Belt, and the 
Eastern, Middle and Old Belts of North Carolina. 
Even this wide range of distinctions, though useful 
in fixing support prices, did not embrace all the 
shades of difference used by company leaf men. 

Mores of tobacco 

The complex routine of the auction sale, now 
an established institution of big business, was built 
up year by year as part of the everyday "cake of cus- 
tom." The tidewater leaf inspector, weeding out 
rotten leaves, became a state official. The state 

official became an auctioneer as the manufacturer 
did his own "weeding." The hogshead, built to 
compress the leaf for stowage and to protect it in 
transit, gave way to the basket where the manufac- 
turer and planter were not separated by distance, 
as in antebellum Danville. 

Manufacturing itself grew out of day-to-day 
mores. The twisting of leaf into rope for convenient 
carrying by Indian, Spanish slave or plains traveler 
led into the pressed pigtail. Licorice as a preserva- 
tive evolved into the art of flavoring. Hogshead 
prizing was duplicated in miniature by the screw 
press used in plugmaking. Both warehouse and 
factory are end-results of accumulated experience 
—in the sociological sense, traditions. The slow 

Baskets were introduced to keep the leaf in clean, auctions. Pace has increased from a pile-a-minute 
neat piles. Leaf is now wheeled quickly up to the in 1870 to a pile every six to ten seconds today, 
selling rows, whisked out of the way to speed the Judging leaf quality in that time takes training. 


Transition from the age of chew to the present 
tobacco industry was led by three manufacturers. 
J. R. Greens granulated smoking tobacco spread 
the fame of Bright leaf; J. B. Duke mechanized 

cigarette production and organized his company 
along "big business" lines; R. ], Reynolds made 
and marketed the first of the "American blends." 
Their state, North Carolina, became industry hub. 

process that made them what they are was a 
universal one, repeated in many tobacco regions. 

Interwoven with this slow growth of tobacco 
custom was an occasional "invention," accelerating 
the onward crawl of the leaf industry with a sudden 
leap. Such inventions seem to have occurred only 
where there was a great need for them coupled 
with a conscious awareness of that need. Perhaps 
Rolfe's experiment with Trinidad or Orinoko seed 
was the first important one, shifting the tobacco 
balance from the Antilles to the Atlantic coast. An- 
other came out of the dogged ingenuity of New 
Englanders forcing their valley land to yield a cigar 
leaf roughly competitive with that of the favored 
tropics. But the most impressive series of innova- 
tions, the sequence which turned tobacco into big 
business, took place in the most barren area of all — 
the Old Bright Belt of Virginia and North Carolina. 

In colonial days, this sandy ridge of stunted pine 
scrub was scornfully dubbed "the land of tar, pitch 
and pork" by clergymen who preferred their pay 
in leaf tobacco grown in more fertile parishes. It 
was nearly abandoned by weary farmers during 
the westering years; stripped of its thin manpower 
during the Civil War; disrupted afterward by the 
emancipation of slave labor and the consequent 
migration to cities. Still, it was this unpromising 
pocket among the foothills that led the nation out 

of the age of rubbery cud and into the apprecia- 
tion of light smoking and cigarette grades. 

The Old Belt inventions filled three basic needs, 
the want of which reduced Richmond to second 
rank in tobacco: better leaf, mechanized produc- 
tion, and efficient distribution. 

In a narrow sense, the famous "yaller cure" on 
the Slade farm in 1839 might be regarded as a 
mere accident that happened to a dozing slave. Yet 
the result would have passed unnoticed ( as it had 
during tidewater times ) if Caswell and Pittsylvania 
counties had not been straining hard to produce 
Bright leaf in every rustic way they knew. Flue- 
cured Bright was the first American leaf that could 
be smoked directly — that is, in pipe or cigarette 
form — by the majority of Americans. Before the 
spread of flue-curing there was straight chaw for 
the cast-iron jaw, with syruped quid for queasier 
palates; and there was harsh northeastern cigar 
leaf, doused in molasses or rum even for teamsters' 
tastes but ameliorated with, or replaced by, im- 
ported Havana for city connoisseurs. 

The cigarette machine was developed in the 
stress of dog-eat-dog or rather, bull- gore-bull, com- 
petition in tiny Durham— not, as might have been 
expected, in cosmopolitan New York or in proud 
Richmond. In its train came the mechanical pack- 
ers, stampers, sealers and baggers which made pos- 


sible mass consumption of tobacco products and, 
in broader perspective, led all industry into the age 
of automation. 

And it was the half-deserted land of tar, pitch 
and pork that seized the golden opportunity to 
capitalize on golden leaf and new contrivances by 
creating the image of the national brand. Even the 
knowledgeable cigar and cigarette firms of New 
York City, with their alluring premiums and flam- 
boyant drummers, did not achieve this until Bull 
Durham set the example. The tactics and execu- 
tion of national selling and distribution were per- 
fected, to be sure, in New York; but the strategy 
was first conceived in Durham. The results tell their 
own story. The three largest tobacco makers 
(Reynolds, American and Liggett) make the bulk 
of their product in Durham, Reidsville and Winston- 
Salem, and in 1956 another of the large companies 
(Lorillard) concentrated almost all its manufac- 
turing in nearby Greensboro. 

While the quid-conscious Richmond ruminator 
of 1898 was bewailing the loss of plug prowess in 
his city, the cigarette business had begun to gather 
momentum. This momentum had just been checked 
rather severely by a tripling of the Federal excise 
from lc per pack of 20 before August of 1897 to 3c 
after June of 1898. Half of cigarette production 
originated in North Carolina and Virginia, a pro- 
portion that was to rise to 80% by 1930 and remain 
at that level through 1960. 

Although cigarette making had increased sixfold 
in sixteen years of machine production, he could 
not have foreseen that the little white roll would 
increase a hundredfold in the fifty years to follow. 
The impetus of that growth had already been gen- 
erated right under his nose, in the Bright tobacco 
country. But the cigarette surge was to require, in 
addition to flue-cured leaf and White Burley from 
the Ohio Valley, a generous flavoring of New York 
City enterprise. 

Center of bright leaf revolution after the Civil Bright tobacco in a sack, Bull Durham was first 
War was Blackwell Bull Durham plant (four-story truly national tobacco brand. The building now 
portion of building above). Granulated straight is Durham headquarters for American Tobacco Co. 


New York has been a prime consumer of tobacco 
ever since the pipe-smoking Dutch defied a no- 
smoking edict by Governor Willem Kieft. Alert to 
foreign fashions, the city rivaled Philadelphia dur- 
ing the snuff and cigar periods and led Americans 
into the age of the cigarette. It was the nations sell- 
ing center and, for a time, top tobacco manufacturer. 


New Amsterdam was settled in 1625 by a com- 
pany of Netherlander looking for new busi- 
ness. And ever since then, its citizens have contin- 
ued to look for new consumption goods, both for 
their own sake and for their business potential. 
After three centuries, New York is still a giant mar- 
ketplace whose biggest customer is itself: it is the 
nation's industrial connoisseur. 

It was fitting, therefore, that the first New Yorkers 
should have been smoking tobacco on their arrival; 
they did not have to take instruction about it from 
the Indians, like the settlers who came to the Con- 
necticut Valley a dozen years later. The bustling, 
business-like Hollanders of the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries who were to give Manhattan its 
"personality" were quite as enthusiastic as the Span- 
iards about tobacco, and just as quick to make it a 
national custom. In 1590, just as the Soverane Herb 
was penetrating England, Holland was not only 
puffing the clay pipe but was growing the plant on 
a large scale. And Dutch merchantmen were cross- 
ing the Atlantic to load cargoes of tabak for sale in 
Europe well before the end of the sixteenth century. 

Dutch uncles vs. Indians 

Like the English under James I, the settlers of 
New Amsterdam had to contend with a ruler 
who thought tobacco a waste of time. He was 
Willem Kieft, director-general of New Amsterdam 
between 1637 and 1647. Kieft, a soldier of fortune 
on the order of Captain John Smith, felt belliger- 
ancy was the best policy in dealing with the native 
Indians and earned the sobriquet of William the 
Testy. In 1639 he issued an arbitrary ban on smok- 
ing, whereupon the city's smokers — virtually the 
entire male population — camped outside Willem's 
official doorway and produced a massive smoke 
screen by way of silent protest. 

As might be expected, pipe smoking was conspic- 
uous all during the New Amsterdam phase. "The 
women . . . entertain each other with a pipe and a 
brazier; young and old, they all smoke." The Dutch 
lived almost wholly on trade, in which tobacco 
played its part. Leaf stores came from Connecticut, 
Massachusetts, Long Island and, of course, Virginia. 

Kieft's successor, Peter Stuyvesant, also treated 
the Indians like a Dutch uncle and, partly because 


of the trouble this caused, was forced to yield the 
city to the English in 1664. Under its new name of 
New York the city added snuff-taking to its original 
custom of pipe-smoking. For the next hundred years 
or so, New York rivaled Philadelphia in such 
tobacco manufacture as there was. This was a 
business of little consequence compared with the 
mammoth exports of the tidewater planters. From 
the first, however, hogsheads of tobacco were coast- 
ered along the seaboard from the Chesapeake 
estuary and the Carolina inlets. Most of it was re- 
shipped, but enough was put ashore at Philadel- 
phia, New York and Boston — legally and otherwise 
— to supply the small shops and snuff-mills of those 
port cities. 

Minimized manufacture 

The Crown's imperial policy did not favor col- 
onial manufacturing activity, however, and most 
of the snuff inhaled by its American subjects in 
New York and elsewhere was made in Scotland. 

In 1760, about the time Gilbert Stuart's Rhode 
Island snuff mill was forced to shut down, Pierre 

Lorillard, a French Huguenot emigre, established a 
tobacco business in New York City on the high road 
to Boston at Chatham Street, near Tryon Row, and 
the present P. Lorillard Company traces to this 
beginning. At that time New York's small tobacco 
shops were not entirely dependent on their own 
manufactures, since they were retail houses primar- 
ily. Possibly for this reason, this type of business 
was still thriving after the Revolution, and some 
added substantial factories to their retail establish- 
ments. During the early 1800s their principal man- 
ufactured product became chewing tobacco. Later 
emphasis was shifted to cigars, to pipe tobacco, and, 
after 1880, to cigarettes. 

As in Virginia and New England, the rise of 
manufacturing establishments in New York and 
Philadelphia began with the departure of the King's 
men. Ten years after the Treaty of Paris, when 
Congress was weighing the question of excise taxes 
on tobacco, one Samuel Russel of New York City 
submitted this information on behalf of the city's 
manufacturers : 

The price of tobacco by the hogshead, in New 


York, is four-pence one farthing per pound. . . . 
This is cash; no credit ever being given on leaf- 
tobacco, in any part of America. The expence of 
work is two-pence three farthings per pound, on 
what is called spun or plug tobacco; only two- 
thirds of the leaf, on an average, can be made 
into this kind of tobacco. The loss in stems and 
dirt will amount to one penny per pound. Every 
pound of good plug tobacco, therefore, costs the 
manufacturer eight-pence per pound; and the 
general selling price is nine-pence. . . . This 
leaves a profit to the manufacturer of twelve and 
an half per cent out of which he must pay shop- 
rent and be supported. The remaining one third 
is made into the coarser kinds. . . . The profits on 
this part, are not far from thirteen per cent. 

It is significant that Russel, while speaking for 
both snuff and tobacco manufacturers, emphasizes 
the "spun or plug tobacco," which was the all-pur- 
pose ropelike twist made on a tobacco wheel. Snuff 

was obviously ground from the scrap residue, in- 
cluding the stem, and the tenor of Russel's report 
indicates that it was declining in importance as 
early as 1794. 

These were the years of great rivalry between 
New York and Philadelphia, in tobacco-making and 
in almost every other form of enterprise. Through- 
out the entire colonial period, New York had run 
a distinct second to the City of Brotherly Love. 
Now, however, New York was overtaking its rival 
as America's No. 1 commercial city. A visiting 
French politician named Charles Maurice de Tal- 
leyrand-Perigord, who was to achieve considerable 
fame as Napoleon's foreign minister, cast his objec- 
tive eye on the reasons: "Its good and convenient 
harbor, which is never closed by ice, its central 
position to which large rivers bring the products of 
the whole country, appear to me to be decisive 
advantages. Philadelphia is too buried in the land 

Philadelphia preceded New York City as political, and Thomas Jefferson discussed state policy. Later 
cultural, commercial capital of America. In "Old the place housed one of the numerous tobacco firms 
London Coffee House," men like Benjamin Franklin which made Philadelphiatheleadingtobacco center. 


;>jk ""m 

Erie Canal, brainchild of Governor DeWitt Clinton, spurred development 
of New York as leading commercial city. Opened in 1826, "Clintons Ditch" 
linked New York with Buffalo and the rich Great Lakes area. Fifty years after- 
ward, picture of Clinton appeared on the federal cigarette excise tax stamp. 

and especially too inaccessible to wood of all sorts. 
Boston is too much at the extremity of the country, 
does not have enough flour, and has not a large 
enough outlet for the commodities of the West 
Indies, except molasses." 

Clinton's Ditch 

The one factor — if one can be isolated — which 
insured New York's rise to pre-eminence was the 
Erie Canal, opened in 1826. At once, the city on 
the Hudson became the natural outlet for the 
produce of upper New York State and all the states 
bordering on the Great Lakes. It was to the Canal 
that New York owed its victory over Philadelphia; 
and it was to the indefatigable DeWitt Clinton that 
the Canal owed its existence. The national Con- 
gress was indifferent to the waterway, which be- 
came a state project. Clinton never emerged as a 
national political figure, having left the U.S. Senate 

to become Mayor of New York City and then Gov- 
ernor of New York State. He was an avid follower 
of Jefferson and Jackson, although he died in 1828 
before he could share in the fruits of Old Hickory's 
victory. More important, he had a vigorous faith in 
America's future, rejoiced in the passing of the 
powdered hair and cocked hat, and devoted his 
personal funds to the drive for a canal, 363 miles 
long, from Buffalo to Albany. Like his fellow Amer- 
icans of that rude but patriotic period, he was full 
of enthusiasm, encouraged Robert Fulton and his 
steamboat, John Jacob Astor and his fur trade, was 
active in founding the College of Physicians and 
Surgeons. He took the inevitable jeers about "Clin- 
ton's Ditch" while the canal was under construction 
and died, $6,000 in debt, only two years after the 
"wedding of the waters" of Atlantic and Lake Erie. 
His great project benefited not only the tobacco 
trade but commercial traffic of all kinds; and his 


Tobacco Iff Snuff of the bcfl quality & flavor. 

At the Manufaftory,No.4, Chatham ftreet,near the Gaol 
By Peter and George Lorillard, 
Where may be had as follows : 

Prig or carrot do. 
Maccuba muff, 
Rappee do. 
Strafburgh do. 
Common rappee do. 
Scented rappee do. of dif- 
ferent kinds, 
Scotch do. 

Cut tobacco, 
Common kitefoot do. 
Common fmoakingdo. 
Segars do. 
Ladies twiil do. 
Pigtail do. in fmall rolls, 

Plug do. 

Hogtail do. \ 

The above Tobacco and Snuff will be fold reasonable, 
and warranted as good as any on the continent. If not 
found to prove good, any part of it may be returned, if 
not damaged. 

N. B. Proper allowance will be made to thofe that 
purchafe a quantity. May 17 — rm . 

Dated May 27, 1789, this is the oldest known adver- 
tisement of the P. Lorillard Company, which began 
as a New York house. The list of products reflects 
the eighteenth century's emphasis on pipe smoking 
and snuff. There is also a reference to the cigar. 

Trade card of same company in early 1800s dropped 
references to snuff and pipe tobacco, concentrated 
on its new line leader, fine cut chewing tobacco. 
During the nineteenth century Americans—includ- 
ing New Yorkers— took to sweet chew in a big way. 
Chewing became a distinctly American custom. 

memorial was struck off in Washington fifty years 
after Clinton's Ditch was opened. In 1876 his image 
was selected for the new Federal tobacco tax stamp, 
and was part of every package of cigarettes during 
the next eighty-two years. 

Along with its dominance of Atlantic trade came 
New York's leadership as a cultural entrepot; even 
in the early 1800s, country folk journeyed to the 
Big Town for a once-in-a-lif etime fling. Restaurants, 
theaters, good hotels were logical by-products of 
the swelling commercial stream. In their tobacco 
habits, Gothamites were "urban" from the first: 
cigars are almost as prominent in accounts of New 
York life during the Era of Good Feeling as chew, 
although the constant salivation induced by the 
latter did not escape comment by foreign visitors 
to the city. Even in the theater, noted Mrs. Frances 
Trollope — first of a long line of English critics of 
American manners — men kept their hats on during 
the performance and expectorated frequently. 

In 1839 a London writer described Americans 
and tobacco as follows, putting the cigar on a par 
with chewing tobaccos : 

The Americans, who pride themselves on being 
the fastest-going people on the "versal globe" — 
who build steamers that can out-paddle the sea- 
serpent and breed horses that can trot faster than 
an ostrich can run — are, undoubtedly, entitled to 
take precedence of all nations as consumers of the 
weed. The sedentary Turk, who smokes from 
morn to night, does not, on an average, get through 
so much tobacco per annum, as a right slick, active, 
go-ahead Yankee, who thinks nothing, "upon his 
own relation," of felling a wagon-load of timber 
before breakfast, or of cutting down a couple of 
acres corn before dinner. The Americans, it is to 
be observed, generally smoke cigars; and tobacco 
in this form burns very fast in the open air, more 
especially when the consumer is rapidly locomo- 
tive, whether upon his own legs, the back of a 
horse, the top of a coach, the deck of a steamboat, 
or in an open railway carriage. The habit of chew- 
ing tobacco is also prevalent in "the States," nor 
is it, as in Great Britain and Ireland, almost en- 
tirely confined to the poorer classes. Members of 
the House of Representatives and of the Senate, 
doctors, judges, barristers, and attorneys chew 
tobacco almost as generally as the laboring classes 
in the old country. Even in a court of justice, more 
especially in the Western States, it is no unusual 
thing to see judge, jury, and the gentlemen of the 
bar, all chewing and spitting as liberally as the 
crew of a homeward-bound West Indiaman. It 



Even before Mexican and Civil Wars, cigar-smoking 
was a common custom among all classes of New York 
residents. Philadelphia still produced more cigars. 

Gentlemen who smoke or chew, (and all gents of 
taste — and some ladies too — do both,) will find, at my 
store, the most extensive assortment of 


fl&*Constantly receiving, the latest importations of the 

best brands of 

Also, every variety of 
Meerschaum, Turkish and Brier Boot Pipes, 

Canes, Umbrellas and Playing Cards. 

Also, the justly celebrated 

Turkish and Lynchburg Smoking Tobacco. 
The public will do well to call and examine the weed, at 

No. 35 South Sixth St. Philadelphia. 

Philadelphia ad addressed gents and ladies of taste, 
emphasized Havana segars, Lynchburg smoking 
tobacco and Turkish, mentioned no brand names. 

must indeed be confessed that Brother Jonathan 
loves tobacco "not wisely but too well," and that 
the habits which are induced by his manner of 
using it are far from "elegant." The truth is, he 
neither smokes nor chews like a gentleman; he 
lives in a land of liberty, and takes his tobacco 
when and where he pleases . . . 

Manufacture maximized 

Cosmopolitan in its tobacco manufacture as in 
everything else, New York was quick to take its 
cue from General Israel Putnam after his return 
to Connecticut with Havana cigars in 1762. Three 
years afterward cigars (but not Havana cigars) 
were made for sale in the city. Early in the 
nineteenth century, a brisk import traffic in cigars 
made of Dutch and German leaf sprang up; the 
market for these were seamen and the European 
immigrants who were beginning to trickle into the 
port. The obvious inadequacy of these rank tobacco 
sticks no doubt stimulated New Yorkers to get into 

cigar-rolling, using the conveniently-situated and 
better leaf from Connecticut Valley farms. The 
early rivalry with Philadelphia in snuff was replaced 
by a more frenzied competition in cigars, both cities 
using immigrant labor to advantage as the rolling- 
rooms multiplied. Skilled German cigar-makers 
were prominent among the new arrivals during the 
"Era of Good Feeling." By the outbreak of Civil 
War, Philadelphia was still the leading cigar city 
with a slight advantage over New York in value of 
output, $1,240,000 as against $1,100,000. New York's 
cigar output alone in 1860 was almost exactly equal 
in dollar value to all the manufactured tobacco 
made in North Carolina. And the extent of the cigar 
craze is shown by the dispersal of manufacture into 
any town with capital to support an establishment 
holding three or four rollers and their workbenches. 
In 1860 $9 million worth of cigars were made 
throughout the nation, as against $21 million worth 
of chewing and smoking tobacco. Forty years later, 



;AHCFA<3TVa£3 &$ 

Nos. 217, 219 & 221 Washington, and 78, 80 & 82 Barclay Sts., 

2V3E-W TT03R.X3L. 


Fine Cut Cavendish, extra 

Chewing, "Standard" brand — 
in balk and in canisters, also 
in tin foil, with gold bnmze 
and bine labels. 

Fine Cut CaTendiah, Chew- 
ing— .in bnlk, in canisters, in 
ronnd and square papers, foil 
weights and various sizes, yel- 
low paper, in tin foil embossed 
and blue labels. 

Second duality. Chewing. 

Sweet Oroooco — In bulk, in 
ronnd and square papers, full 
weights and various sizes, 
marked C. H. L-, in tin foil, blue 
labels, marked C.H.L. 

Fine Cut Plain Chewing— 

in bulk, in canisters, iu round 
and square papers, fall weights 
and various sizes, blue paper, 
in tin foil, gold bronze and bine 
Long Cut Chewing & Smok- 
ing — la balk, in round .and 
square papers, fall weights and 
various sizes. 

No. 1 Smoking— in bulk, in 
round and square papers, fall 
weights and various sizes. 

Short Cut Smoking — in balk, 

in round und Bquare papers, 
full weights and various sizes. 

Mild Smoking — in bulk, in 

round and square papers, full 
weights and various sizes. 

Spaniih. Smoking — in bulk, in 

canistere^n various size papers. 

Genuine Turkish Smoking — 

in bulk, and in various size 

German Smoking — in bulk, 

and in various size papers. 

Virginia Manufactured To- 
bacco of all brands and 



Fine Brown Snuff Genuine 

Maccoboy — Rose scented, iu 
jars, kegs, and bottles; in lead 
packages, 16,8, 4,2 and 1} ox. 

Genuine Eappee— Bergamoi 
scented, in jars, kegs, and bot- 

Coarse Brown Snuff French 

Kappee, coarse— in jars, kegs, 
and bottles; In lead packages. 
16, 8, 4, 2 and 1 } ounce. 

American Gentleman - * ° jars, 
kegs, and bottles. 

Yellow Snuff Scotch, First 

and Second Qualities — in blad- 
ders, small, large and assorted, 
and in bottles; in lead packa- 
ges, 16, 8, 4, 2 and 1} ounce. 

High Toast, or Lundy Foots 

in jars, kegs, and bottles ; In 
lead packages, 16, 8, 4, 2 and 

A liberal discount for cash. 


Would beg to return his thnnki 
to bis friends and the public, for 
the generous support they have 
so long extended to this estab- 
lishment, since its commence- 
ment by his father, in the year 
1803, to merit the continuance 
of which he will spare no pains 
nor expense. Having erected the 
present Nine Story Building on 
the old site, and pnt in new ma- 
chinery with all the late improve- 
ments, he will be enabled to exe- 
cute all orders with immediate 
dispatch, and shall continue to 
manufacture the same excellent 
quality of Tobacco, which has 
enjoyed such popularity. 

Lilienthal factory in lower Manhattan teas typical its trade card, although the firm turned out many 
tobacco plant of the pre-Civil War era. Trademarks types of tobacco product. Under "Tobacco" at left, 
were conspicuously absent from both the plant and the main emphasis was placed on chewing mixtures. 

cigars were grossing more than $160 million a year 
and manufactured tobacco about $90 million. Al- 
though these amounts included over $50 million in 
federal excise taxes, which were not in effect in 
1860, the increase even without taxes was stagger- 

Despite its prominence in all types of tobacco- 
making, New York's principal contribution to the 

industry was its selling enterprise. Its factors re- 
ceived half of the tobacco goods made in Virginia 
and North Carolina, re-distributing them to whole- 
salers throughout the nation. Southern dependence 
on these factors, with their "fancy stocks, fine 
houses and fast teams," was keenly resented in 
Richmond and other Bright manufacturing cities, 

but the fact remained that New York was the coun- 
try's distribution headquarters for tobacco and 
most everything else. 

Port of export 

The War Between the States gave New York an 
extra impetus as a tobacco town by closing the 
port of New Orleans to western growers. European 
buyers shifted their locus of operations from that 
city to New York, which for a while became the 
principal port of exit for western tobacco shipped 
by rail from Louisville and Cincinnati. In the years 
following the war, more than 80,000 hogsheads of 
the western crop alone were annually shipped to 
New York. 


P. Lorillard 

The biggest single factor in the metropolitan 
area's massive tobacco output — and the oldest as 
well — was the Lorillard firm. Begun in Manhat- 
tan in 1760, Lorillard was one of the only two pre- 
revolutionary snuff mills in the colonies to survive 
British opposition to colonial manufacture. During 
the release of manufacturing activity which fol- 
lowed the Treaty of Paris, Pierre Lorillard built a 
new snuff mill on the banks of the Bronx River. 
Over the years this installation was expanded to 
include workmen's cottages, a warehouse, facil- 
ities for packing smoking tobacco, and the Loril- 
lard family mansion. The latter was surrounded 
by riding trails and set in an "Acre of Roses," some 
of which were used to perfume the family's snuff 
brands. The original wooden mill was replaced in 
1840 by a granite structure, still standing in the 
Bronx Botanical Gardens, 

Changes in the national taste were mirrored bv 
Lorillard's changing product mix. As snuff was 
superseded by the national stampede to "eatin 
tobacco," Lorillard's emphasis shifted from the 
Bronx River mill to a new giant factory across the 
Hudson, and from snuff-and-smokum to sweet 
plug. In this respect, Lorillard's evolution paral- 
leled that of the four Virginia plug towns of the 
antebellum years — from all-purpose tobacco or 
bulk chew to molded lumps and thence to flat plug. 

With its ideal Jersey City location, Lorillard had 
a head start into the era of mass-produced national 
brands, which got under way after the Civil War. 
During the late 1870s the huge Jersey City plant 
accounted for nearly 10^ of all manufactured to- 
bacco made in the U. S. —nearly as much plug as 
Richmond's total, three times as much as New 
York's. Lorillard's plug grades were identified as 
the Climax, Bullion, Sailors Delight, Mechanics 
Delight, Catawba, Red Cross, Green Turtle, Army 
ir Navy brands, each plug "branded" with a 
colored and printed tin tag pronged into it. 

In 1885 "Leslie's Weekly" told its readers that 
the Lorillard Jersey City factories covered five 
acres and included a 15.000-volume library and 
350-child schoolrooom "for the free use of the army 
of about four thousand persons employed in their 
immense tobacco establishment." The payroll was 
a large one: the census of 1SS0 had counted the 
total number of tobacco "hands" in the U.S. —men. 

After Civil War. brand names counted. Lorillard. 
whose Jersey City plant made 10% of manufac- 
tured tobacco in U.S., branded its plug with tin tags. 

women and children — at S6.000 32.700 in manu- 
factured tobacco. 33.300 in cigars and cigarettes). 

During the postbellum years. Lorillard's line re- 
flected the trend to smoking tobaccos as well as the 
headlong increase in tin tag plug. By 1S90 only the 
enormous Liggett & Myers plug factory in St. Louis 
outproduced Lorillard in total poundage. But 
Lorillard even then was turning out more smokings 
than plug, and was one of the five U. S. companies 
to exceed a million pounds a year in snuff. In addi- 
tion the company was participating in the upsurge 
of cigar production under such brand names as 
Sweet Moments, Old Virginia Cheroots, Lillian 
Russell and, later, Muriel and Van Bibber. 

By 1906 Lorillard production was in the 25.000,- 


Peter Lorillard, son of Pierre, built this stone erected in the 1780s. Still standing, the mill got 
snuff-mill in 1840 to replace a wooden structure waterpower from the Bronx River to turn its wheels. 

OOO-poimds-a-year class — about equal to the total 
output of Winston or Durham, but still outpaced 
by the massive plug poundage of St. Louis or Louis- 
ville. The total included about 8,000,000 pounds of 
navy plug, 14,000,000 pounds of smoking tobaccos, 
Union Leader and Sensation being its principal 
brands, and nearly 3,000,000 pounds of fine-cut 
chewing, including the Tiger and Century brands. 
Between 1898 and 1911, Lorillard was part of 
the tobacco combination. When this was dissolved, 
the company would emerge without its snuff 
brands, but with about the same volume of navy 
plug and fine-cut chewing, an increased smoking 
tobacco business of 40,000,000 pounds a year 




Around the century's turn, product mix ran to more 
smoking than chewing tobacco — a national trend. 

(25% of national output), plus the cigarette brands 
of the Anargyros plant in New York City. These 
brands, including Egyptian Deities, Mogul, Murad, 
Helmar, and Turkish Trophies, represented about 
20% of U. S. production in 1913. With later ciga- 
rette brands, they would enable Lorillard to reflect, 
in every era, the 200-year evolution of American 
tobacco manufacturing. 

Top tobacco town 

If the postbellum revival of manufacturing was 
satisfactory in Virginia, rapid in North Carolina, 
and steady in the western states, it was phenomenal 
in New York. By 1880 the big town was producing 
four times as many cigars as its erstwhile rival, Phil- 
adelphia; one out of every three brown rolls were 
made in New York, a huge proportion for a hand- 
labor industry. In terms of total poundage, more 
than a fifth of all American tobacco products were 
processed in the metropolitan area, including the 
plug tobacco factories across the Hudson in Jersey 
City. (Richmond's manufacturing share was one 
tenth, virtually all of it plug.) 

If there was any single reason for New York's 
unlikely emergence as the nation's top tobacco 
town, it was the place's pre-eminence in selling. 
Here the arts of persuasion and communication 
(perhaps two words for the same thing) were de- 
veloped as nowhere else. With thousands of hogs- 
heads of leaf entering the city, it was inevitable 


that those with capital to invest should put two and 
two together to get a return of five. Leaf tobacco 
and manufacturing capital were both available in 
quantity; joined with energetic salesmen and will- 
ing pieceworkers, also available, four dollars' outlay 
would bring in five. Although Southern factory 
towns were nearer the source of supply, they were 
short in two of the four terms in the big business 
equation — able salesmen and cash. Furthermore 
tobacco consumption, while still on the rise, was in 
a state of flux: cigars were on the gallop, smoking 
was resuming its old primacy ( aided by the inven- 
tion of the friction match ) while the Southern main- 
stay, plug, was fighting a losing battle— beset by the 
cigar surge on the one hand, and by the growth of 
western plug towns on the other. ( In 1880 St. Louis 
ranked behind Richmond but ahead of Lynchburg, 
Petersburg and Danville in the production of quid; 
Louisville ranked behind Lynchburg and Peters- 
burg but ahead of Danville; Alton, Illinois and Mid- 
dletown, Ohio were close behind. ) 

For New York, the new 

Perhaps the most revealing statistics among 
the postbellum figures were not in total pound- 
age of New York production but in its breakdown. 
Always interested in the new, in growth potential, 
the New York manufacturers of 1880 were almost 
completely uninterested in plug — virtually all their 
production was in straight smoking tobacco or "fine- 
cut chewing" suitable for either mouth or pipe. 
( Most of the metropolitan area's considerable chew- 
ing tobacco output was made in Jersey City. ) Cig- 
arettes were not yet important enough to rate a 
separate classification as to leaf poundage used; yet 
New York City alone was turning out 60% of the 
little white rolls. The term "manufacturer" could 
hardly be applied in connection with cigars, which 
were made in hundreds of small shops rather than 
in a few large factories. 

One of the most important New York manufac- 
turers was D. H. McAlpin, founded well before the 
Civil War. Like most early tobaccomen in the city, 


Selling rather than manufacturing was New York's 
forte. The arts of communication were quickly put 
to commercial use, as exemplified by the Currier 

and Ives trade card lithographed in the "classic" 
manner for Champion cigars. New York sold not only 
its own products but also tobacco made in Richmond. 


D. H. McAlpin of NewYork capitalized on new taste 
for "long cut" both for chewing and pipe smoking. 
Two time-tested words made successful brand name 
of big seller: "Virginia," an old synonym for the 
best tobacco, and "Killickinick," from the generic 
Indian term kinnikinnick, signifying tobacco blend. 


To which young and promising Tom Smddgee abandons himself. He wasteth the midnight 
oil, quantities of Killikinick, and himself simultaneously. 

McAlpin started out as a retailer-manufacturer and 
had a shop, complete with cigar store Indian, on 
Catherine Street. In the flowering of manufactured 
tobacco brands that followed Appomattox, McAlpin 
did not join the plug stampede but concentrated 
on two specialties — a fine-cut chewing tobacco 
trademarked Virgin Leaf, and a line of smoking to- 
baccos including a Virginia Killickinick brand. 
These names were not particularly original but they 
were shrewdly selected. "Virginia" was a standard 
synonym for fine tobacco ( in Europe it remains so 
although the word "Bright" has more or less re- 
placed it in this country). Killickinick had found 
wide acceptance as the romantic Indian word for a 
pipe mixture and as the brand name of Maurice 
Moore's Lynchburg smokum. On a modest scale 


McAlpin's choice of products and choice of words 
was quite successful, the firm attaining a volume of 
more than 2,000,000 pounds a year by the Gay 
Nineties — this poundage being comparable to that 
of important Richmond firms like Mayo and Pat- 

Cigarmaking was more specific to New York than 
manufactured tobacco production: the census of 
1880 credited the city with $4,320,972 worth of 
manufactured tobacco produced, a modest 8% of 
the national total. In "cigars and cigarettes" — the 
latter, then hand-rolled, being a negligible number 
-New York turned out $18,347,108 worth of prod- 
uct, nearly 30% of the national output. Further- 
more, New York City listed only 17 manufactured 
tobacco establishments as against 761 cigarmakers. 
Nevertheless, cigarmaking was still distinctly 
small business while tobacco manufacture was big 
enterprise. In value of product the smoking and 
chewing factories averaged $2,700 per employee in 
1880; the average cigar worker turned out only 
$1,200 worth of goods during the same year. 

It is worth noting, from the standpoint of pure 
business efficiency, that New York City produced 
8% of the total U. S. dollar value of manufactured 
tobacco even though it boasted only 3% of the na- 
tion's smoking, chewing and snuff factories and 
only 5% of the nation's employees in those cate- 
gories. No such efficiency was reflected in the sta- 
tistics for cigars : New York's dollar output was no 
greater as a percentage of the U.S. total than either 
its share of persons employed in cigarmaking or its 
share of cigar shops— a little less than 30% in each 

One of the reason's for the higher quality of the 
Big Town's operations in the manufactured to- 
bacco field was the fact, already mentioned, that its 
turnout of higher-priced fine-cut chews and smok- 
ings was relatively heavy and its production of 
cheap plug relatively light. By the same token, the 
statistics indicate that New York's cigar products 
did not command higher-than-average prices. The 
average cigar made in New York in 1880 was worth 
about 3c— about the same as the general U. S. 

In making a new product go, part of the motive 
power is consumer pull — demand — and part of it 
is manufacturer's push — selling. That New York 
somehow attracted the best selling talent, the South- 

ern manufacturers had conceded long before Sum- 
ter. This became even more evident in the upward 
rush of production and consumption during the 
Gilded Age. As a shipping and manufacturing cen- 
ter, New York was well placed to supply the sales- 
man — particularly the cigar and cigarette salesman 
— with quantities of the cheap brummagems which 
were useful not only as premiums but also as con- 
versation pieces : pictures, running to sports figures 
and "leg art"; wall lighters; cigar cutters; razors; 
flags; and matches (which are still used). It should 
be noted that the most valuable of these premiums 
did not go to the consumer but to the wholesale and 
retail trade as rewards for stocking the manufac- 
turer's brand. The consumer's usual reward for buy- 
ing the brand was a lithographed picture card 
( which did double duty as a stiff ener for the flimsy 
slide-and-shell box). This was supplemented by 
silk flags, and by picture albums and catalogued 
premiums exchanged for box-fronts or enclosed 
coupons. The role of the florid-faced, extroverted 
backslapper — the city slicker — in breaking down 
preferences for local brands within the trade was 
indispensable in building national brands. This in 
turn was the indispensable prelude to mass produc- 
tion which, with its attendant improvement in qual- 
ity and reduction of price, is the classic American 
formula for improvement in living standards. 

New York's chief contribution to the tobacco in- 
dustry was in wholesaling, now called distribution. 
It was, to be sure, a key manufacturing town be- 
tween 1780 and 1930, during the successive eras of 
snuff, cigars, mass-produced plug, smoking tobacco 
and cigarettes. But except in size, it did not differ 
as a making center from any of the hundred-odd 
cities which jumped on the cigar bandwagon, or 
from quid and smokum centers like Detroit and 
Chicago, or early cigarette towns like Rochester 
and San Francisco. Like other sizable cities, New 
York represented a compact market as well as a 
labor pool and its retail tobacco trade was a highly 
visible indication of this. 

The urban environment itself has always been 
accompanied by a heightened demand for tobacco. 
Cities are characterized by a fast pace of living, by 
tensions, artificiality and a lack of the earthy, the 
natural, the primitive. Tobacco seems to supply 
part of this missing element, and the trade sensed 
this. The London apothecaries did their part in the 

< -■ 

The cigar had a prominent place in New York City's 
"stream of consciousness." Above, one of the many 
humorous allusions to President Grant's customary 
preoccupation, captioned: "The General's resource 
at any emergency— smoke ." Below, a prophetic sign 
from the Presidential campaign of 1880. As poster 
predicted, Americans did indeed see Garfield win. 

HO uc^ BETY °u>U/re 

rou will 


early 1600s to romanticize the mysterious "heathen 
wound plant." So did the wholesalers and retailers 
of New York; in the 1870s and 1880s many of them 
adorned their invoice forms with the "Great Spirit" 
woodcut reproduced on page 26. By that time the 
Indian was being hunted down in the West and a 
nostalgic image of him and his ways (assumed to 
be vanishing forever) grew up in the eastern cities. 
Tobacco, of course, had long been associated with 
the noble savage and it was merely good sales psy- 
chology to keep the association alive. 

Sidewalks of New York 

The most prominent manifestations of this com- 
mercialized mystique were the wooden Indians sta- 
tioned outside the tobacco shops. At one time the 


U. S. population of pine redmen — perhaps 100,000 
— was nearly one-half that of living Amerinds. In 
New York during the postbellum years, the wooden 
Indian was a symbol as standard as barbers' poles 
and decidedly more numerous. 

The story of the tobacco trade can almost be told 
in the evolution of the cigar store Indian. The first 
known wooden Indians were those of London, 
which appeared shortly after Rolfe's first commer- 
cial shipment of leaf. They were not American 
Indians at all but black men in feather headdresses 
and girdles of tobacco leaves, confusing the earliest 
purveyors of tobacco — the African slaves brought 
by the Spaniards to Santo Domingo — with the 
native Indians of Virginia. During the next century, 
as the Scotch entered the tobacco trade and built 
their reputation as snuff makers, the tobacconist 
identified his place of business with a statue of a 
kilted Highlander. The turbaned Turk appeared 
with the vogue for aromatic Middle East leaf, first 
in London and later in New Yor-k. The true likeness 
of the American Indian became common in cities 
east of the Mississippi around 1840, by which time 
most of the redskins were being deported west of 
that river into Indian Territory. In every age most 
tobacco store figures were exotic ones foreign to 
everyday life, symbolizing the enchantment of far- 
away lands and so connoting the mystery and en- 
chantment of tobacco. 

These silent salesmen were not entirely symbolic. 
Most of them held out one or more tobacco prod- 
ucts to catch the eye of the passersby. The early 
English tobacco boys— "Pomfreys," they were nick- 
named—grasped a bunch of tobacco leaves in one 
hand and a pipe in the other. The next figure in his- 
torical sequence was a wooden Scotsman with tam- 
o'-shanter, kilt and bare knees, often holding a 
wooden snuff box. The great majority of cigar store 
Indians carved in the U. S. between 1840 and 1890 
prof erred a bunch of wooden cigars. Now and then 
art prevailed over commercial display and the ci- 
gars were omitted where they seemed inappropri- 
ate : in the hands of the wooden baseball player, a 
bat replaced the cigars. Some statues were made to 
hold a dagger, tomahawk or musket, holes having 
been carved in their fists to provide for the insertion 
of such weapons. 

The wholesale multiplication of brands that fol- 
lowed the Civil War was accompanied by a widened 

variety of shop statues, although nine out of every 
ten were still Indians. In addition to the throngs 
of Pocahontases and peering braves there were 
buckskinned pioneers and trappers, cavaliers, ladies 
of fashion, sailors, baseball players, minstrel char- 
acters, historical figures like Raleigh or Washington, 
and even famous clergymen. One of the most popu- 
lar types in New York was a beckoning Punch with 

Typical New York tobacconist of early 1900s was a 
combination retailer and manufacturer. Indian was 
mounted on wheels, whisked inside at closing time. 


a fat paunch and leer to match. Most show figures 
were carved in white pine; often they were made 
from lengths of discarded ship spars and masts by 
ship carvers who turned from figureheads to trade 
signs as steam replaced sail. As might be imagined, 
they were highly prized not only by the shop- 
keepers who owned them but by passing lovers of 
folk art who sometimes swept the silent wooden 

figures off their feet in an irresistible frenzy of klep- 
tomania. Those not kidnapped outright usually lost 
to passing admirers their noses or the tomahawks 
doweled into their wooden fists. Tobacconists in 
large cities took to chaining their cigar-bearing sen- 
tinels to the outside wall, or mounting them on 
rollers to be wheeled indoors at nightfall. 

After the Civil War cigar store Indians began to 

Sidewalks of New York were populated with wooden 
cavaliers and turbaned Turks, though nine of ten 
figures were Indians. Metal brave (right) was cast 

in New York; a heavier figure was harder to steal, 
but arrow was missing from right hand hole. This 
model was said to have been Longfellow's favorite. 


be cast in metal. There were three reasons for this. 
First, a metal Indian was harder to carry off — 
heavier than wood, and more readily anchored in 
the concrete sidewalk outside the shop. Second, 
cast iron was a characteristic material of the early 
Industrial Era, not only for utilitarian machinery 
but also for decorations of many kinds, from lawn 
urns to ornamental fretwork. And third, the up- 
surge in manufactured tobacco products and in 
retail shops to sell them increased the demand for 
figures beyond the capacity of the limited supply 
of woodcarvers. The Demuth firm of New York City 
specialized in "show figures," both wooden and cast 
metal, and tried by means of advertising to extend 
their use from tobacconists to druggists, notion 
stores, theaters and even banks. Operating on the 
new principles of mass production, Demuth espe- 

Figure of Punch was a special favorite in NewYork. 

cially pushed his metal figures, many of which could 
be formed with the same mold. His most famous 
product was the so-called "Longfellow Indian," a 
noble brave with bear-claw necklace, strap-iron 
bow in one hand and a separate metal arrow in- 
serted into a hole in the other. One of these stood 
guard before a cigar establishment on the Boston- 
Cambridge road and was said to be greatly admired 
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who had written 
"Hiawatha" in 1855. But even Longfellow's iron 
redman was not vandal-proof, for most surviving 
specimens have been relieved of bow, arrow, or 

The same urbanization which created a mass 
market for cast metal Indians thickened street traf- 
fic and thereby halted the increase in the metal- 
Indian tribe almost as soon as it began. City 
ordinances made him an outlaw, a sidewalk obstruc- 
tion. Like his living prototype, the cigar store Indian 
was crowded out by the white men. 

Between 1840 and 1910 or so, the stolid cigar 
store Indian did not signify retailing exclusively. 
Many a small shop retailed well-known brands of 
chew, smoking tobacco and cigarettes up front and 
rolled its own brand of cigar in the backroom. These 
shops ( see cut, page 198 ) were a transitional stage 
between the era of farm manufacture and the era 
of national brands. Cigar-making made possible 
the existence of these retail outlets in vast num- 
bers, not only in New York but in other cities, for 
the cigar was the last form to be mass-produced by 
machine and thus the last to enter the national 
brand phase. 

The boys in the backroom 

Not that the exuberant release of free enterprise 
was a pure picnic: before the happy plateau of 
brand land was achieved, many a vale of tears had 
to be crossed. One of these was the crowding of the 
underpaid backroom bunchers in the cigar shops— 
"sweatshops" as they (and other piecework estab- 
lishments) were called. The cigar workers who 
plied their trade at home — most were not skilled 
rollers but turned out "molded" cigars— were in an 
even worse plight. Often the landlord who rented 
them tenement quarters, and the factory-owner 
who paid them barely enough for rent and subsist- 
ence, were one and the same person. In fact, by dis- 
tributing the work to the cigar rollers in their own 




[ >1 





* '-. 


■. ..* " 


Cleaner than the average turn-of-the-century cigar 
establishment was this dingy New York loft. There 
were 20,000 such workrooms throughout the nation. 

Of every dollar spent on tobacco, cigars accounted 
for 60c. Brand names were many and magnificent but 
did not carry any assurance of consistent quality. 

Worse off than backroom bunchers were home cigar blade to slice wrapper from tobacco leaf; worker 
workers. Families like this one worked each day as at left does not literally roll cigars but shapes 
long as light permitted. Boy at right uses curved them in mold, a cheap, relatively unskilled method. 


"homes," the shrewd operator was able to avoid 
much of the heat, light, floor space and other costs 
of a legitimate manufacturing business. The New 
York cigar-makers went on strike for higher wages 
in 1864; however, it was not the employees of siz- 
able factories but the piece-workers at home who 
needed help. Their workweek extended during all 
the daylight hours, every day, for which week many 
rollers earned $8.00 or even less. Into this unfortu- 
nate situation in 1863 came a young immigrant 
cigar-maker named Samuel Gompers; stung to ac- 
tion by what he found, Gompers managed to inter- 
est a New York assemblyman, Theodore Roosevelt, 
in remedial legislation. Laws were passed, and later 
thrown out by the courts; but Gompers, who went 
on to found the American Federation of Labor, is 

credited with making a progressive out of the well- 
born Theodore Roosevelt. 

Even this dingy phase in the history of cigar- 
making contributed in its way to the history of 
human freedom. From 1880 through 1895, New 
York was the headquarters of Jose Marti, guiding 
genius of the Cuban revolution against Spain. Like 
any self-respecting Cuban, Marti was in love with 
cigars; to him a tobacco plant was a "delicate lady" 
to be protected and cared for, the cigar a com- 
panion of loneliness. But the cigar rollers played a 
more practical part in his revolutionary planning. 
The reading-tables of workrooms not only in Ha- 
vana but also in Tampa, Key West and New York, 
were "pulpits of liberty." From refugee cigar work- 
ers in these American cities Marti received not only 

Samuel Gompers, an immigrant cigar roller, headed 
drive for better working conditions in the trade, 
finally founded the American Federation of Labor. 

Theodore Roosevelt, a NewYork state assemblyman, 
was sympathetic to Gompers' movement, introduced 
legislation to eliminate sweated tenement labor. 


moral support but ten percent of their weekly earn- 
ings. When the plans for revolution were completed 
in 1895, the order to rebel was sent from Key West 
to Havana rolled in a cigar. 

Cigarette city 

All this had a foreign flavor to it; and whatever 
might be said on the Fourth of July about "the 
melting pot," each successive wave of immigrants 
tended to be despised and ignored by the previous 
one. Yet it was this very foreign flavor that made 
New York first the test market, then the manufac- 
turing center, and finally the financial capitol of the 
industry based on the most universal tobacco form 
of all* the American cigarette. 

A distinctive American cigarette was not to 

emerge until 1913, but the groundwork was laid by 
New Yorkers who, more than most Americans, were 
sensitive to foreign influences. Originally a Central 
American custom, cigarette smoking was observed 
in New Mexico by the rugged trappers and traders 
who opened the Santa Fe trail, early in the nine- 
teenth century. But the cigarette was to arrive in 
New York by a more devious route. The starting 
point can be placed in Seville, the world's first 
tobacco manufacturing capitol. In that ancient 
"clear Havana" town, cigarettes were a poor man's 
by-product of the lordly cigar — scraps of discarded 
cigar butt wrapped in a scrap of paper. So it appears 
that the first use of paper to wrap a cigarette (in- 
stead of cornhusk or hollow reed in the Aztec mode) 
was a pure expedient: paper was at that time a city 

Cuban rollers were "cigartists," differed from the on politics. Dedicated to freedom, many emigrated 
unskilled molders of New York City. They hired a to the factories of New York and Tampa, used their 
workroom reader (center, elevated) to keep them up wages to finance Cuba's revolution against Spain. 


Exotic origin and aromatic flavor of Turkish leaf 
gave the cigarette its first appeal for Americans. 
British soldiers "discovered" Turkish cigarettes dur- 

ing Crimean War of 1854-56, set up a demand for 
them in London. Leaf was (and still is) lightered 
in small boats to ships anchored off Turkish coast. 

item, and the cigarette also remained a city item un- 
til the twentieth century. During most of the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries the Sevillian papa- 
lete was a beggar's smoke, ascending the social lad- 
der sometime before 1800 and moving to Portugal, 
Italy and South Russia. In Brazil it was called pape- 
lito; in Spain, papalete or cigarillo; in Italy, where 
the product was larger than we know it, a paper 
cigar. The French monopoly, or Regie, began its 
manufacture in 1843 and the word "cigarette" is of 
French origin. Drawings of French cigarette girls 
and French "ordering" or conditioning cylinders for 
tobacco were published in New York weeklies be- 
fore the American cigarette industry itself became 
the subject of the engraver's art. It may have been 
known in England shortly thereafter, for in an 1854 
letter to a British friend Charles Dickens asked for 

cigarettes (although he might have meant small 
cigars ) . It was certainly known in New York around 
that year, for in 1854 one Dr. R. T. Trail observed 

some of the ladies of this refined and fashion- 
forming metropolis are aping the silly ways of 
some pseudo-accomplished foreigners, in smok- 
ing Tobacco through a weaker and more feminine 
article, which has been most delicately denomi- 
nated cigarette. 

The taste for Turkish 

The new mode did not catch on as quickly as the 
alarmed Dr. Trail appeared to fear: America was 
still in the throes of its fascination with the cigar, 
still had its mouth full of quid. But it made some 
headway in England after the Crimean War of 
1854-56. There the French and Turkish used them, 


Tiny leaves of Turkish tobacco— grown in Balkans, 
Greece and Turkey— are cured in the sun, threaded 
or "manipulated" tediously onto strings by hand. 

probably rolling their own, while the Russian 
enemy smoked cigarettes made in a St. Petersburg 
factory. There seem to be two reasons why British 
officers took up the cigarette: (1) pipes did not 
stand up under the rigors of the campaign and 
cigars were not to be had; and (2) the tobacco 
available to both sides was the Turkish leaf, mild, 

small-leaved and extremely aromatic. At first it was 
the pungent flavor of this unique tobacco, redolent 
of the mysterious Orient, that gave the cigarette or 
papalete its appeal. In 1854, a veteran of Crimea 
named Robert Gloag experimented with a cigar- 
ette mixture poked into pre-formed paper tubes in 
the French manner. He is credited with opening 
the first full-fledged British cigarette factory in 
1856, his early product bearing the cryptic name 
Sweet Threes. In the late 1850s a London tobacco 
merchant named Philip Morris — whose, business 
had been established in the early part of the 
decade — went into the manufacturing of hand- 
made cigarettes to order. Later, when production 
techniques permitted, the Philip Morris firm intro- 
duced a cork tip. Both Gloag's and Morris' cigar- 
ettes were distinguished by the use of Latakia, a 
smoke-cured variety of Turkish tobacco. Intrigued 
by this exotic incense of the Middle East, both 
Bond Street and Fifth Avenue took up the cigar- 
ette as a novelty. 

Even with the fashionable example set by the 
British, and even with the exotic appeal of the 
words "Turkish" and "Egyptian", the cigarette prob- 
ably would not have registered with the New York 
market except for the unusual fragrance of the 
Turkish leaf. New York had been exposed to cigar- 
ettes before the French or British took them up, in 
the course of its heavy cigar trade with Cuba. On 
that island, cigarillos wrapped with cotton paper 
had been in use for nearly two hundred years. But 
the strong cigar leaf used in "Spanish whiffs" did 
not yield the light smoke that the form seems to 
require ( in Cuba today, as in many countries, dark 
cigar leaf is still used in cigarettes out of necessity: 
light American cigarette grades will not grow in 
Cuban soil and imported American brands, though 
preferred, are too expensive for the average man 
after duty is added). 

Foreign flavor of the New York market showed in 
demand for cigarettes like the straight Turkish 
Mogul and for cigars like El Principe de Gales, a 

clear Havana. Although New York was a quantity 
producer of snuff, plug and smoking tobacco, its 
big specialty was cigar and cigarette production. 


Bright idea 

Revenue statistics show confusing variations in 
cigarette manufacture during the years immedi- 
ately after the Civil War. The rather high figure for 
1865 - nearly 20,000,000 - which was the first re- 
ported may indicate that substantial production 
began during the war years. At any rate, the earliest 
manufacturing of any consequence was done by 
hand in New York shops operated by Greek and 
Turkish immigrants ( Greece and Turkey being the 
chief sources of "Turkish" tobacco ) . One such shop, 
run by the Bedrossian brothers, first used American 
Bright tobacco in cigarettes sometime before 1870. 
The innovation did not escape notice by the alert 
New Yorkers one of whom, F. S. Kinney, imported 
European rollers in 1 869 to teach his factory people 
how to make cigarettes. In the same year Kinney 

began cigarette production in Richmond; the large 
factory he built there in 1886 is still standing, hav- 
ing been renovated in 1930 for use as a stemmery 
by one of today's largest cigarette manufacturers. 
Like most of the other early cigarettemen, Kinney 
blended the expensive Turkish leaf with Bright to- 
bacco, which at that time was less costly. The idea 
of such a blend of East and West was not entirely 
original: Seville at one time turned out a cigarillo 
of Virginia tobacco wrapped in a Havana leaf. 

The straight Virginia cigarette 

Consumption of cigarettes climbed, being un- 
checked even by the panic of 1873. Though still a 
"novelty business" in the United States, cigarettes 
were growing to some importance abroad, and 
doubtless the first manufacturers had an eye peeled 

New York imported Russian and Polish hand rollers were for the "carriage trade" and carried premium 
to satisfy demand for straight Turkish cigarettes prices. Today's blends still contain some Turkish 
after Civil War. First cigarettes made in New York tobacco— 10% or less— as a "seasoning ingredient." 



»— '■«.' 




r. * 

as^* - "^ S/ 


'?* sale tt« e 



Bedrossian brothers were among the first to blend 
Virginia leaf with Turkish in cigarettes, sometime 
before 1870. They managed to cram all the romantic 

words in the tobacco lexicon onto their trade card. 
Great variety of cigarette shapes, most with fancy 
names, was intended strictly for big-city markets. 

for the foreign market. Kinney's chief New York 
City competitor was Goodwin & Company, which 
also employed Russian immigrants who had experi- 
ence in the London cigarette factories. Another 
important firm, W. S. Kimball & Company, manu- 
factured in Rochester, New York. In Richmond, 
Allen and Ginter (the latter a transplanted New 
Yorker) began making cigarettes in 1875; among 
that firm's earliest brands was a Havana brand of 
the type smoked in Cuba. A little later the Rich- 
mond firm departed completely from the foreign- 
tobacco idea with Richmond Straight Cut No. 1, 
containing only "the brightest, most delicate fla- 
vored and highest cost Gold Leaf Tobacco grown 

in Virginia." It was this "Virginia cigarette" that 
went farthest at the start; by 1883 Allen and Ginter 
had a branch factory operating in London (Eng- 
land still favors the straight Virginia cigarette ) and 
were selling in France, Germany, Switzerland, Bel- 
gium and Australia. 

All in all, this was an auspicious beginning. The 
popularity of straight Turkish cigarettes was largely 
limited to New York with its big foreign-born pop- 
ulation, but Allen and Ginter's experiment showed 
that a Bright tobacco cigarette had a fairly univer- 
sal appeal. And for those who fancied Turkish-type 
cigarettes but did not take to the fancy price, the 
blend of Turkish and Virginia put out by Kinney 


Turkish cigarettes had a long vogue in New York. 
In 1900 Turkish Trophies took fashionable glamor 
from the Florodora girl, then toast of the town. 

1 C«iMtfi§ 

* >Y. y. 

One o/ £/ie earliest "national" cigarette brands of 
the hand-rolling era was Vanity Fair, which was on 
sale as far west as Chicago during the early 1880s. 

seemed satisfactory. By 1880, cigarette sales in units 
amounted to more than 400,000,000 which bore 
some sort of comparison with that year's unit sales 
of cigars, 2,400,000,000, although the leaf pound- 
age consumed in cigar form was of course much 
greater, unit for unit. 

However, the cigarette was by no stretch of the 
statistics a national form of tobacco consumption 
in the sense that the cigar was. There were no fewer 
than 94 cities turning out 2,000,000 cigars a year 
or more; but there were only a dozen centers with 
any cigarette production at all. Of these only four 
( New York- Jersey City, Rochester, Baltimore and 
Richmond) accounted for 75% of the 1880 national 
total; none of the others, including such mighty 
tobacco towns as St. Louis and Durham, had as 
much as 2%. At this stage the cigarette was clearly 
a specialty item meant for big-city markets. 

This much was clear not only from the urban 
locus of manufacture but from the brand names 
themselves. Unlike the rowdy handles used with 
eatin' tobacco and the uninhibited words and 

phrases used with smokings, cigarette trademarks 
had a certain hauteur. Kimball's Peerless Tobacco 
Works in Rochester, which had a good sixth of the 
U. S. market, advertised half a dozen important 
brands in 1885: Vanity Fair, Fragrant Vanity Fair, 
Cloth of Gold, Three Kings, Old Gold, and Ori- 
entals (Turkish). Allen and Ginter of Richmond 
listed such fancy trademarks as Bon Ton, Napo- 
leons, Dubec, The Pet, and Opera Puffs, in addition 
to its international Richmond Straight Cut No. 1. 

Indicative of Baltimore's zest for manufacture 
was the "early foot" shown in the cigarette race by 
Marburg and Feigner, the versatile makers of smok- 
ing tobacco blends. Their cigarette output was 
slightly greater than Richmond's. They too aimed 
at the carriage trade, Marburg numbering Estrella, 
High Life, Melrose and Golden Age among its ciga- 
rettes and Feigner offering Sublime, Principal, Per- 
fect and Herbe de la Reine. 

New York had only two cigarette makers with 
national aspirations, Kinney and Goodwin. Kin- 
ney's seven trademarks were very easy to identify 


since they formed a related sequence of names: 
Kinney's Straight Cut, Kinney's Straight Cut (Full 
Dress), Full Dress, Caporals — Halves, Caporals — 
Wholes (referring to the packings, not the ciga- 
rettes themselves), Sportsman's Caporal, and Sweet 
Caporal. The word "caporal," French for corporal, 
was intended to suggest that the tobacco was a cut 
above common leaf, as a corporal was a cut above a 
common soldier. 

Goodwin's names were the folksiest: Canvas 
Back, Old Judge and Welcome. Not that the others 
ignored the common-man market completely — 
Allen and Ginter had Old Rip, Marburg Lone Fish- 
erman, Our Boys and Acme and Feigner Our Little 

The six big firms— Kimball in Rochester, Allen & 
Ginter in Richmond, Marburg and Feigner in Bal- 
timore, Kinney and Goodwin in New York— among 
them had 44 of the 94 "important" brands of the 
day, if importance is defined as being in some de- 
mand as far west as Chicago. There was a good deal 
of "keeping up with the Joneses" in cigarette com- 
petition then, as there is now. Three firms had 
"Old" brands - Old Judge, Old Rip, Old Gold. 
Three had "Our" brands — Our Boys, Our Little 
Pilot, Our Little Beauties. Allen & Ginter opposed 
its Perfection brand against Feigner's Perfect. Mar- 
burg had a Lone Fisherman, inspired no doubt by 
the old Lynchburg brand, Lone Jack, which was 
made as a cigarette along with the antebellum 
smoking mixture of that name. 

The Lone Jack cigarette was one of several links 
between tumblings and white rolls. Kimball's Three 
Kings was an offshoot of a smoking mixture of 
Turkish, Perique and Virginia, and his Vanity Fair 
and Old Gold cigarettes developed from flake cut 
pipe tobaccos of those names. However, only "high- 
toned" smoking tobacco names were suitable for 
use in the cigarette trade; it was not until the mad 
multiplication of 1900 or so that almost every brand 
name with a following was registered for smoking 
mixture, plug, cigarette and sometimes cigar use as 
well. Eminently qualified by this standard was the 
Duke of Durham smoking tobacco brand, offered 
in cigarette form in 1881. Less suitable, perhaps, 
was the name Blackwell's Durham for a cigarette 
made by the Dukes' crosstown competitor and in- 
tended to borrow a little market muscle from its 
sacked smokum, Bull Durham. 

Many cigarette brands used brand names of smoking 
tobaccos. Old Judge, made in New York, was such a 
product. As a national rather than a metropolitan 
brand, its trademark was more folksy than elegant. 

Before the U. S. had cigarette factories, New York 
weeklies carried pictures of French manufacturing. 

This was an "ordering" cylinder in which tobacco 
arriving at a cigarette plant was reconditioned. 

Two-way trade 

The cigarette trade had a split personality, an 
echo of which is present to this day. On the one 
hand there were the "big city" brands with no pre- 
tensions to high volume but with very definite in- 
tentions of high profit. Most of these were aimed at 
the New York City market, and most had oriental 
names— Bafrah, Cairo Superior, Persian, Egyptian, 
Levant, Monopole (Cairo), Moscow (Russian), 
Smyrna, Khedive, and the like. They came high: 
Egyptian retailed at 50c for 20, and Huppmann 
Imperiales at $1.20 for 20. Most of them were 
layered in paper-hinged, foil-lined boxes — like 
many current big-city, small-volume brands which 
sell at premium prices. The tobacco in these brands 

was straight Turkish, the designation "straight 
Turkish" having the same significance for nine- 
teenth-century cigarette smokers as "clear Havana" 
for cigar fanciers. To carry out the "custom trade" 
idea, most could be furnished with or without 
mouthpiece and in mild, medium or strong types. 
For those who had the yen but not the money, 
there were semi-premium brands with fancy pack- 
ages and Oriental names but with Virginia-Turkish 
blends; these sold for 10c to 20c a box. Apparently 
the foreign foofaraw and jacked-up prices did the 
trick, for these Turkish and pseudo-Turkish ciga- 
rettes represented a good proportion of total sales. 
As late as 1903 they accounted for about 25% of 
the national market. 


Not many of these exotic Middle East creations 
crossed the Hudson River; of the 94 brands impor- 
tant enough to be listed for the Chicago trade in 
1885, only a couple had Oriental names. The "all- 
America" brands— representing the simpler side of 
the split cigarette personality— were priced to re- 
tail in nickel multiples, the standard being 5c for a 
box of ten and 10c for a box of twenty. Some brands 
retailed for an even nickel more. A typical price 
to the trade was $2.25 per 1,000 cigarettes. This 
figure included 50c for Federal tax and perhaps 30c 
for leaf, leaving $1.45 for labor, packaging, selling 
and profit. 

The corresponding 1958 price was $8.28 per 
1,000 at wholesale, of which $4.00 was for Federal 
tax and about $1.75 for leaf, leaving $2.53 for manu- 
facturing, selling cost and profit. Since the 1958 
dollar was worth about 25c in terms of 1885 pur- 
chasing power, big volume and mechanization 
have actually reduced manufacturing costs from 
$1.45 to the 1958 equivalent of 63c, or more than 
half. Over the same period leaf costs, which have 
not been reduced by the principle of mass produc- 
tion, have moved upwards from 30c to the 1958 
equivalent of 43c. 

Maids, morals and machines 

There was, however, a built-in limit to cigarette 
production during the early 1880s. It required as 
much skill to roll a delicate "tailor-made" cigarette 
as to fashion a robust, perfecto-shaped cigar. The 
French cigarette girl of the 50s worked with a pre- 
formed tube into which she poked the tobacco; 
but London cigarettes were rolled from flat paper 
rectangles by dextrous Poles or Russians, and the 
American mode followed the English. After rolling 
the shredded leaf and paper slip into a reasonably 
compact cylinder, the seam was sealed with a touch 
of flour and water. Even after a cigarette girl was 
well-trained she could scarcely exceed four per 
minute at top speed. It was a difficult and expen- 
sive process. This relative sluggishness of hand 
production would have defeated itself eventually 
from a lack of skilled personnel, if not from a lack 
of high-paying puffers : running at their 1958 rate, 
the six largest cigarette companies turn out the en- 
tire production of the year 1880 in two hours. Even 
with the skimpy production of the day, work forces 

French cigarette girl of 1850s poked tobacco into 
a pre-formed hollow tube. In Spain, the cigarette 
was a beggars smoke; in France, a novel fashion. 

s/uaz&rw foSAe ///?.j 

v r/?r r/ 




I — ■ - 

But until the twentieth centunj, cigarettes were to 
remain a specialty. In 1889, the Philip Morris firm 
of London advertised a cork tip in daring fashion. 


were getting unwieldy: Allen & Ginter required 
500 girls in 1883, 900 in 1886. 

There was nothing about these young ladies 
reminiscent of Carmen, Bizet's violent and multi- 
lovered cigarette girl. A New York visitor observed: 
One of the most surprising features is the intel- 
ligent and comely appearance of the girls. This 
is accounted for by the fact that an applicant for 
admission into the factory must go through a 
most thorough examination as to character and 
habits, and none are admitted who, after careful 
examination, are discovered wanting in good 
moral character. 
Comely, moral and dextrous as they might be, 
however, their very numbers presented staggering 
problems in supervision alone. The solution came 
very shortly as mechanized production was per- 
fected by J. B. Duke in Durham. Like his larger 
competitors, "Buck" Duke had started by bringing 
125 European immigrants from New York to do 
his hand-rolling and in his first year, 1881, turned 
out 9,800,000 cigarettes— about 1.5% of the indus- 
try total. Bonsack, the machine inventor, had been 
in touch with the big four companies, who turned 
down his contraption on two grounds : ( 1 ) it was 
not reliable in operation, and ( 2 ) consumers would 
resent machine-made cigarettes. Duke brushed 
aside the second objection, and set his own me- 
chanics to work correcting the first. In 1888, his 
fifth year of machine operation, he turned out 

744,000,000 cigarettes— more than the national out- 
put in his "tooling-up year," 1883— and had nearly 
40% of the nation's cigarette business. For once, 
the South had gotten the jump on the New York 
city slickers. 

Durham to New York 

Unlike most of his fellow-manufacturers in Vir- 
ginia and North Carolina, Duke was not content 
with a modest country operation. He realized from 
the first that the cigarettes were an urban smoke. 
Of course, he had to learn the game of selling in the 
best school for it— New York. As soon as the bugs 
were ironed out of his production lines and his 
price competitive— 5c for a box of 10, against the 
previously standard 10c — he sent his salesmen 
throughout the country (one went "on the road" 
through Europe, Africa, India, Australia and New 
Zealand and wrote so many orders he didn't re- 
turn for two years) and in 1884 moved to New 
York. He got the feel of the budding market by 
canvassing retailers himself, arranged for bill- 
boards and newspaper advertisements, and swelled 
New York's production totals by setting up a branch 
factory in a loft on Rivington Street. In addition 
to his original cigarette brand, Duke of Durham, 
young Duke manufactured Cyclone, Cameo, Cross 
Cut and Duke's Best, the last four introduced in 
cigarette form when he invaded New York. 


SW»»lnES1RAITS0FCIBf>»n»B MAR70. 1876. 




LAWN TtHHlS CM»»«0»< 0« KEW VtU.lK>im:.' K 

m mt '*"^B 


j£k IL. 



Cigarette cards helped stiffen package as well as were sports fans impressed by blazer ed tennis 

providing inducement to buy. Pictures of athletes champions and tailcoated center fielders. However 

were popular fillings for the "cigarette sandwich" Mr. W. G. George's time for the mile run— 4 minutes 

as were miniature blankets and flags. Only in 80s 12.8 seconds-was not far below today's standards. 


~" ---World. 


In 1888, its fifth year of mechanized production. Bull Durham pattern of national advertising and di- 
the Duke firm of Durham and New York had red sellingto the trade, Duke transformed cigarettes 
achieved 39% of all cigarette sales. By emulating the from an expensive novelty to a common man's smoke. 

The American Tobacco Company 

The arts of promotion which Duke polished in 
New York were designed, not to increase the use of 
tobacco as such— history had already demonstrated 
that would take care of itself —but to funnel as much 
of it as possible into cigarettes and into his particu- 
lar brands. Having begun as a "commercial trav- 
eler" at the age of eight, Duke was well equipped 
to train the drummers who blanketed his market- 
in this case, the entire world. The tools of their 
trade were of New York origin: "photo-arto-types" 
or picture cards, sometimes called "Russell cards" 
after their principal subject, actress Lillian Russell, 
although cards picturing baseball players, boxers, 
and other notables helped fill the "cigarette sand- 
wich." Coupons redeemable for "mantelpiece 
clocks" and the like were widely used. Duke's Cross 
Cut Polo Team advertised the cigarette and smok- 
ing tobacco of that name as it rolled across the 
country to meet all comers (it played on roller 
skates, not on horses). Where the local situation 

permitted, attractive women salesmen were em- 
ployed, in itself an attention-getting device. His ad- 
vertising, not only via newspapers and billboards 
but on his own cigarette packages, was direct and 
to the point. While his competitors shrank from 
machinery, fearful that smokers would resent any- 
thing but a handmade cigarette, Duke labeled his 
Pin Head brand: "These cigarettes are manufac- 
tured on the Bonsack Cigarette Machine." His 
package itself was new and different — the "slide 
and shell" box now used for more expensive brands 
—and was described, in the jargon of the day, as "a 
perfect scream." His object was to learn how the 
leading manufacturers played the game, and then 
beat them at it— by plowing back most of his profits 
into advertising, for example. In 1889 he poured 
$800,000 into promotion, a staggering sum for a 
small business. 

In 1890, it was obvious to the big four that they 
couldn't lick Duke, so they joined him. The new 
corporation was named The American Tobacco 


Toward the end of the nineteenth century, even in 
New York, cigarette smoking was an act of daring 
for a lady. This very sensational photograph bore 
the breathtaking caption: "She's going to smoke!" 





The finest Cigarette ever 
made. Turkish Tobacco 
and Bice Paper. They never 
fail to light without matches 
in the strongest gale, and for 
the Theatre, Cab, Carriage, 
Yachting, Fishing, Hunting, 
on the Ocean and for home, 
office, and street use, they will 
be found Exceedingly Con- 
venient* No Nicotine can 
be taken into the system while 
smoking these Cigarettes, as 
in the mouth-piece of each is 
placed a small wad of absorb- 
ent cotton, which strains and 



eliminates the injurious qual- 
ities from the smoke. Give 
them one trial. Price, 10 
cents per box of 10. If you 
cannot get them at your cigar 
store, hotel, or druggist's, re- 
mit us 25 cents, 50 cents, or 
£1, and we will mail boxes 
containing 20, 50, or 100 Cigar- 
ettes, postpaid. If not en- 
tirely satisfactory, we will re- 
turn the money. 

Address : 




EF* It 18 a matter of regret that many manufacturers of Tobacco and Cigarettes, devoid of all enn- 
science, are now flooding the market with goods of a most injurious quality. DR. SCOTT'S are guaran- 
teed pore and twmnless. $1000 will be paid in every case where it is proven that these Cigarettes are adul- 
terated or contain anything but Pure Tobacco. WE CHALLENGE ANALYSIS. Mention this paper. 


Every conceivable variant of the new form had its 
tryout in New York. This "electric cigarette" was 
actually a match-ended smoke, with "anti-nicotine" 
filter tip of cotton thrown in at no extra charge. 

Company. As a spindly boy of eight, Duke had re- 
ceived a "payment" of one bag of brown sugar for 
his first business trip— the 1865 mule-and-wagon 
ride with his penniless father to sell a few sacks of 
flailed Bright leaf on the road to Raleigh. Twenty- 
five years later, at the age of thirty-three, he was 
president of a $25 million company. 

The skyrocket career of J. B. Duke was based on 
the fact that he patterned his cigarette business 
after the first tobacco product to become a "big 
business" if that term is understood to include ( 1 ) 
mechanization, leading to (2) uniformity of prod- 
uct, permitting (3) national brands supported by 
(4) a national distribution system and (5) national 
advertising. Duke's model was, of course, the 
Blackwell company and its mighty Bull Durham. 

Puff huff 

But while Bull Durham fitted into the long- 
accepted custom of pipe smoking, the cigarette had 
to create its own acceptance and this led to a con- 
troversy quite as turbulent as that precipitated by 

James I of England. The foreign origin of the white 
roll made it suspect: in 1884 the New York Times 
ventured into the field of international sociology by 
editorializing that 

The decadence of Spain began when the Span- 
iards adopted cigarettes and if this pernicious 
practice obtains among adult Americans the ruin 
of the Republic is close at hand . . . 

The vogue for Turkish cigarettes accelerated in 
1895 and accounted for a full fourth of cigarette 
sales between 1898 and 1903. During this time the 
energetic Lucy Gaston— a tobacco tintype of Carrie 
Nation — organized a campaign against the white 
roll, with headquarters in Chicago, arousing the 
Midwest against the new form. The growth of Tur- 
kish smokes almost exclusively in foreign-flavored 
New York was probably the root cause of this cru- 
sade, which resulted in the prohibition of cigarette 
sales in twelve states. The Federal excise tax on 
cigarettes was raised in 1897 from lc to 2c and 
again to 3c in 1898 to raise funds for the Spanish- 
American War, and this tripled tax burden drove 


unit sales down. Even in foreign -flavored New 
York a 1908 ordinance banned smoking in public by 
women, but this was not taken seriously either by 
lady puffers or by the authorities themselves. There 
is no way to gauge the effect of this legislative flurry 
on sales, which began to rise again in 1901, when 
the tax was lowered to 1.08c per pack. In 1909, 
when the last of the state laws against cigarettes 
was enacted, national sales were double the figure 
of five years before. 

It was an odd feature of the "little white slaver" 
movement that the use of quid or pipe tobacco 
drew no objection. Pipes and cigars were not 
affected by the state laws against cigarettes. Al- 
though the main disadvantage of the cigarette, as 
expounded by Miss Gaston, was that it drove its 
devotees into insane asylums, what made the pub- 

lic receptive to her campaign was a feeling that 
cigarettes were effeminate while chaw and pipes 
were virile. The controversy was taken up in the 
sporting world: Gentleman Jim Corbett smoked 
cigarettes, while John L. Sullivan scorned the new 
item and was not reluctant to be quoted on the 

Nevertheless, from 1885 to 1902 the cigarette had 
made the kind of progress that cannot be wholly 
measured by statistics. Its volume had tripled; but 
more important was the fact that the new form had 
gained rather wide popular acceptance as distinct 
from the novelty "big city" acceptance won by 
Opera Puffs and Huppmann Imperiales. There 
were now 2,100 "cigarettes, cigarros and cheroots" 
listed in Connorton's Directory, along with 9,000 
plugs and twists, 3,600 fine cuts, 7,000 smoking to- 

Controversy on the manliness of cigarette smoking the new smoke; challenger" Gentleman Jim" Corbett 
was widespread during the Gay Nineties. Champion espoused it. Corbett's 1892 knockout of the Boston 
heavyweight John L. Sullivan publicly deprecated Strong Boy did not end the cigarette controversy. 


baccos and 3,600 snuff brands. Some of the new 
cigarette names were quite as vernacular as the 
earlier plug and pipe tobacco trademarks: Bear 
Facts, Corn Husk, Jim Dumps, Driving the First 

Smoking of pipes and cigars as well as cigarettes 
gained impetus during 1900-1910. King Edward V 11 
set the style with famous remark after his -first 
royal dinner as king: "Gentlemen, you may smoke!" 

Stake (!), General Hobo, Gloomy Gus, Misfits, 
Pigs Foot, Rocket, Fire Cracker, Scrape-Goat, Coal 
Smoke, Total Eclipse, Strawhoard. The cigar was 
more pre-eminent than ever as an aristocratic or 
pseudo-aristocratic article. Most of the clear Ha- 
vanas carried regal designations — El Principe de 
Gales and the like— but even "nickel goods" carried 
such tony trademarks as Swell Set and Hoffman 
House, the latter being a cosmopolitan hotel on 
Fifth Avenue into whose bar everybody who was 
anybody came to see and be seen. 

The decade of the 90s, gay and troubled by turns, 
was a kind of "shakedown" period not only for the 
tobacco business but for the nation itself. The last 
battle between U. S. Cavalry and western Indians 
did not take place until 1890, at Wounded Knee 
Creek in Dakota; the last Washington powwow 
with an Indian war chief took place in 1891. The 
fight for Cuban liberty was in the forefront of na- 
tional consciousness toward the end of the century, 
and like most wars the Spanish-American war had 
the effect of widening American horizons, of 
heightening interest in the new and the different. 
The Prince of Wales, son of the long-reigning 
Queen Victoria, visited the United States and was 
warmly received. 

"You may smoke" 

In 1901, on Victoria's death, the Prince ascended 
the throne as Edward VII. At his first royal dinner 
as king, the distinguished visitors were apprehen- 
sive, for Victoria had forbidden the use of tobacco 
at her court. Not so Edward: to the unasked ques- 
tion he replied loftily, "Gentlemen, you may 
smoke." The gracious remark might well have been 
directed to Americans; for while the custom of 
chewing had ceased to increase, smoking was grow- 
ing. Between 1900 and 1910, pipe and cigarette 
smoking on a per capita basis made impressive 
gains; cigar consumption per capita reached its all- 
time U. S. peak— 86— in 1907. Leaf tobacco used in 
manufacturing increased 45% between 1900 and 
1910, as compared with a 14% increase during the 
90s and gains of 18% and 22% in the 1910-20 and 
1920-30 periods. 

Nor was the spread of the smoking custom an 
uncritical one. The unbounded enthusiasm for 
straight granulated Bright was tempered by the 
appearance of blended smoking tobaccos and pipe 


Edwardian era in New York City was characterized 
by elegant nomenclature even for five-cent cigars. 
Hoffman House was a fashionable Fifth Avenue hotel 
whose bar was peopled by celebrities eager to see 

fanciers at large— not merely connoisseurs— turned 
to the new blends and even used them in roll-your- 
own cigarettes. The welter of cheap cigar brands 
had gone about as far as it could go by 1907; no 
longer was the average smoker willing to part with 
his nickel for any harsh rope that looked like a 
cigar. After that year the volume of stogie and 
cheroot business fell away and the consumption of 
brown rolls, though not so great in point of units 
sold, thereafter centered in the medium quality 
grades. The principal reason for the disappearance 
of vile cigars was, of course, the adoption of ciga- 
rette smoking which was not only milder and 
sweeter than the crude stogie but actually less ex- 
pensive, puff for puff. 

and be seen. Vicarious enjoyment of this splendor 
cost five cents, the price of Hoffman House cigar. 
Peak of cigar consumption, most aristocratic form 
of smoking, was attained in 1907: 86 per capita. 

There was, however, more to it than that. The 
"citification" of America which had occupied the 
last 35 years of the nineteenth century was now 
substantially accomplished. The felt replaced the 
dignified topper; the automobile came in and the 
stately carriage went out; the leisurely noon meal 
yielded to the quick-lunch counter. Urban hurry 
had been institutionalized, and in this fast-moving 
context the deliberate and prolonged pleasure of 
pipe and cigar was a little out of place. The briar 
went with slippers and the evening newspaper; the 
brown roll was "saved for after dinner." The ciga- 
rette could be snuffed out instantly if need be. It 
was easier to pocket than pipe or cigar. It required 
less thought, less attention, and did not interfere 


with conversation as much. Above all, it was a 
quick smoke. 

Big business 

During the 90s, the commercial climate held out 
two lessons for tobaccomen. First, if a little big 
business was good, a bigger big business would be 
better. Second, if cigarettes faced a hostile recep- 
tion in the Midwest diversification of the product 
mix would be prudent and profitable. James B. 
Duke, who already dominated the cigarette busi- 
ness, began to take a keener interest in quid, in 
snuff, in domestic cigars and even in Havana ta- 
bacos. The "plug war" of 1895-1898 was not so 
much a price-cutting epidemic as a duel between 
two "combinations." These combines or trusts were 
being built in most basic businesses including oil, 
steel, lead, sugar, copper, cotton oil, linseed oil, 
distilling and cordage. 

On one side, Duke began by acquiring the Na- 
tional Tobacco Works of Louisville, the Marburg 
and Gail & Ax firms of Baltimore; later the Butler, 
Drummond and Brown companies of St. Louis 
were added and the plug businesses combined un- 
der a. new corporation, Continental Tobacco Com- 
pany. On the other side, a group of powerful New 
York financiers including Thomas Fortune Ryan, 
Anthony N. Brady, and P. A. B. Widener organ- 
ized the Union Tobacco Company. Union bought 
the National Cigarette and Tobacco Company, 
Blackwell's Durham, and an option on a controlling 
interest in the biggest plugmaker, Liggett & Myers. 
In 1899 the two combines became one, bringing to- 
gether the best of the tobacco managements and 
the most influential (and moneyed) financiers of 
the day. 

Within a few years, most of the nation's promi- 
nent tobacco firms had entered the combination: 
Lorillard and McAlpin of New York; Mayo, Wright 
and Patterson of Richmond; Reynolds, Hanes and 
Brown of Winston; Beck of Chicago; Scotten of 
Detroit; Bollman of San Francisco; Sorg of Middle- 
town; Finzer of Louisville, and others. By 1910 the 
group consolidated 86 % of national output in ciga- 
rettes, 85% in plug, 76% in smoking tobacco, 97% 
in snuff, and 14% in cigars. The last-cited percen- 
tage indicates that cigars — after a full century of 
brand-name manufacture— still did not lend them- 
selves to mass production and volume economies. 

They were still being tediously rolled by hand in 
more than 20,000 small shops and plants through- 
out the country. 

Big stick 

Beside the controversy generated by the forma- 
tion of trusts, the anti-cigarette movement paled to 
the significance of a high school debate. The nation 
suffered through two wrenching depressions, in 
1893 and 1907; farmers and city people alike 
blamed their misfortunes on "big business." A 
school of anti-business literature— the "muckrakers" 
—arose to paint in lurid language every hardship 
and inconvenience inherent in large-scale produc- 
tion. Into the White House came Teddy Roosevelt 
with his "Big Stick," his zeal for reform and, no 
doubt, his memories of the sweatshops run by the 
small cigar makers of New York. Between 1901 and 

The accelerating pace of city life, symbolized by 
the quick-lunch counter of late nineteenth-century 
New York, was perhaps the principal reason for the 


1909, the Trustbuster brought suit against forty- 
four trusts and combinations, among them the to- 
bacco combine. 

The original action was begun in 1907, and in its 
verdict of 1908 the U. S. Circuit Court of New York 

The record . . . does not indicate that there has 
been any increase in the price of tobacco prod- 
ucts to the consumer. There is an absence of per- 
suasive evidence that by unfair competition or 
improper practices independent dealers have been 
dragooned into . . . selling out . . . the price of 
leaf tobacco . . . has steadily increased until it 
has nearly doubled, while at the same time 
150,000 additional acres have been devoted to 
tobacco crops . . . new markets have been opened 
in India, China and elsewhere. 

Nevertheless, the combination was judged to 
have restrained competition in violation of the 

Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and following Supreme 
Court confirmation of the decision in 1911, it was 
redivided into its component companies. The four 
principal manufacturers to emerge were American, 
Reynolds, Liggett & Myers, and Lorillard. The 
effect of dissolution on the tobacco business was, 
however, slight. Retail prices did not change, fac- 
tory costs remained as they were, and leaf prices 
varied no more than usual. However, the restora- 
tion of competition vastly increased the cost of sell- 
ing and advertising, from $18.1 million in 1910 to 
$32.4 million in 1913. 

As corporate blending ceased, the blending of 
tobacco increased. The straight Bright cigarette, 
the straight Maryland pipe tobacco, and the 
straight Burley plug gave way to a new kind of 
"combination." This— the blended American ciga- 
rette—was destined to receive a favorable verdict. 

replacement of the cigar by the cigarette. Cigars 
became luxury items to be saved for "after dinner"; 
they were somewhat out of place during the hours 

of work. Cigarettes fitted better into the urban 
routine: they were easier to snuff out quickly if 
need be, easier to talk through, easier to carry. 



In the twentieth century all major strains of U.S. 
leaf were blended into the American cigarette, and 
regional tobacco products all but disappeared. Both 
planting and processing had been greatly improved; 
the American blended cigarette became the tobacco 
standard in the U.S. and around the world as well. 

The rivalries that make up the story of Ameri- 
cans and tobacco during their first three cen- 
turies were finally resolved in the American 
cigarette. Tobacco, focus of struggles between col- 
onist and king, Kentuckian and Spaniard, East and 
Midwest, North and South, was finally blended into 
a national product. Competition was no longer be- 
tween regions, but between manufacturers. 

It took exactly three hundred years for Rolfe's 
first commercial shipment of dark air-cured in 1613 
to evolve into the American blended cigarette of 
1913. This latest step in tobacco evolution corres- 
ponds with the latest stage in the development of 
Americans themselves. "Tobacco use," observed a 
scientist in 1956, "and particularly cigarette smok- 
ing, has become widespread throughout the world, 
especially in the more highly developed countries." 
The cigarette, light, mild, quick, was "tailor- 

made" for an urban civilization perpetually in mo- 
tion and perpetually in need of relaxation. 

If the development of the American cigarette 
was slow and even devious, it was because the de- 
velopment of the American way of life, American 
manners, American taste was itself a gradual proc- 
ess. Cigarettes were a prominent feature of sophisti- 
cated Aztec life. They passed over into the worldly 
Spanish culture, which carried them as far north 
as the City of the Holy Faith, screened from the 
plains savages by the Mountains of the Blood of 
Christ: Santa Fe. They were common in nearby 
Cuba while the Atlantic ports were throwing out 
lines of commerce. As early as 1850, the American 
cigarette was foreshadowed in St. Petersburg, 
where the La Ferme factory is said to have blended 
Turkish leaf with American Burley and Maryland 
for the Russian trade. So the early acceptance of 


the cigarette in the United States, traced from its 
use by British, French and Russian soldiers in the 
Crimean War of 1854, was perhaps initiated by a 
blend somewhat like our present one. At any rate, 
it was not merely a matter of cigarettes growing 
up to meet the market; it was also a matter of 
Americans growing into the cigarette. 

Like snuff to the colonials, cigarettes to the post- 
bellum Americans were at first a foreign luxury. 
Their appeal was cosmopolitan, combining the ex- 
otic lure of the Middle East— Egyptienne Straights, 
Fatima, Omar, Helmar, Hassan, Mecca, Zubelda— 
with the social self-assurance of London— Vail Mall, 
Piccadilly, Lord Salisbury. American taste declared 
its independence of European fashion long before 
the American vocabulary did. The popular article 
at the century's turn was a blended Turkish ciga- 
rette, and it has been observed that the "Turkish" 

was more prominent on the cigarette package, fes- 
tooned with minarets, pyramids and palm trees, 
than it was in the cigarette. 

Although this oriental symbolism persisted, and 
although today's cigarettes still use a small percen- 
tage of aromatic Turkish leaf, the American ciga- 
rette as we know it did not evolve from the straight 
Turkish product or even from the Turkish- Virginia 
blend. The blend which finally won out was de- 
rived from smoking tobacco via the "roll-your-own" 
cigarette. First flue-cured Bright, then sweetened 
Burley, then a mixture of both captured the taste 
buds of American pipe smokers. As the cigarette 
form became more popular, two things happened: 
manufacturers brought out cigarettes with the 
brand marks of their more successful smoking to- 
baccos, and smokers who disdained the tailormade 
tube — a goodly number — began to roll their own 


cigarettes from Burley, Bright, or Burley-and- 
Bright pipe mixtures. Some smoking tobaccos had 
long been sold with cigarette papers attached, the 
best known of these being the nonblended Bright 
Bull Durham, Even while his straight Turkish ciga- 
rettes were gaining headway in the city market, 
during the early 1900s, J. B. Duke was advertising 
Dukes Mixture not only "for pipes" but also "for 
cigarettes." In the year 1907, which marked New 
York City's transition from the horsedrawn Fifth 
Avenue coach to the motorbus, both kinds of vehi- 
cles carried the two-way car cards for Dukes Mix- 

This was more than a coincidence: the pipe as 
such was making its exit with the horse-and-buggy 
era, and the cigarette— a different form which used 
essentially the same tobacco blends — was on the 
threshold of national acceptance. But apart from 
the luxury-conscious and novelty-conscious in the 
urban markets, this acceptance did not come until 
the American blend was developed to supplant the 
straight or blended oriental cigarette. 

Bright, Burley, Maryland, Turkish 

The three brands which were to revolutionize 
world tobacco consumption were all introduced be- 
fore our entry into World War I; two of them 
evolved directly from smoking tobaccos. In her de- 
finitive study of the Bright-tobacco industry, Tilley 
states that in 1907 "R. J. Reynolds used a Burley 
blend for his Prince Albert smoking tobacco and in 
so doing marked a turning point in his business 
career by laying the foundation for his famous do- 
mestic blend to come six years later in the Camel 

Lucky Strike, chief competitor to the Camel 
brand, was developed in New York, still an impor- 
tant tobacco manufacturing center, by The Ameri- 
can Tobacco Company. The name Lucky Strike 
had been synonymous with Burley since R. A. 
Patterson had used it for his plug tobacco in pre- 
Civil War Richmond. Later Lucky Strike was sold 
as sliced plug for pipe smoking. The first Lucky 
Strike cigarette ads proudly called attention to the 
Burley component, which presented something of 




a manufacturing problem. Burley leaf shredded to 
cigarette strips quickly loses its aroma, so the Bur- 
ley part of the blend had to be separately "cased" 
(flavored) and then "bulked" (allowed to absorb 
the casing overnight) before being shredded into 
the final mixture. Since the New York factories 
were not equipped to handle Burley in this way, 
it had to be prepared in Richmond and shipped to 
New York for blending and manufacturing. First 
marketed in 1916, the brand's initial progress was 
halted by World War I, but it moved into the first 
rank of competition during the 1920s and alter- 
nated with Camel as the No. 1 brand between 1930 
and 1950. 

A third important cigarette was Liggett and 
Myers' Chesterfield, a 1912 brand which was 
shifted in 1915 from a slide-and-shell box into a 
tight paper-and-foil wrap, like that used by Camel 
and Luckij Strike. Chesterfield was the third of the 
"standard" brands which were to become, as Bull 
Durham had once become, the standard of America 
and eventually the standard of the world. Chester- 

field was labeled "a balanced blend of the finest 
aromatic Turkish tobacco and the choicest of sev- 
eral American varieties." Lucky Strike was labeled 
"A blend of Burley and Turkish tobacco ( based on 
the original Lucky Strike Tobacco formula)" and 
Camel "Turkish & Domestic Blend." The emphasis 
on Turkish indicates, in retrospect, the initial im- 
portance of straight Turkish and blended Turkish 
formulas in the cigarette market. Chesterfield ads 
in 1917 carried this paragraph in small type: "The 
Chesterfield blend contains the most famous Turk- 
ish tobaccos — Samsoun for richness, Cavalla for 
aroma, Smyrna for sweetness, Xanthi for fragrance, 
combined with the best domestic leaf." 

R. J. Reynolds 

It was something of a paradox that Richard 
Joshua Reynolds, the unyielding defender of flat 
Bright plug, should revolutionize the cigarette field 
with the Burley-blended Camel. When the tobacco 
trust was dissolved, Reynolds reverted to its status 
as a manufactured tobacco firm and was awarded 

As late as 1912, tailormade cigarettes featured 
straight Turkish tobacco content and were sold 
mainly in New York City and other urban markets. 
Big billboard at Broadway and Seventy Second St. 
(left) advertised Egyptian Straights. In tobacco 
content the brand was not Egyptian but Turkish. 

American pipe mixtures rather than Turkish leaf 
foreshadowed content of big cigarette brands. 
The changeover from pipe and plug to cigarette 
smoking coincided roughly with the change from 
horse-and-buggy to automobiles. In 1907 (right) 
motor busses supplanted the horsedrawn carriage 
along New York's Fifth Avenue, and Dukes Mixture 
began to be promoted on coach and car cards not 
only for pipe smoking but also for cigarette use. 



r, ^r ~~Z. 

Camel cigarette took its brand image from "Old Joe" 
a circus dromedary which passed through Winston 
with Barnum <b- Bailey. In 1913 cigarettes empha- 

sized Turkish leaf content; labels were festooned 
with oriental decorations. Camel package followed 
this trend although cigarette blend was American. 

no cigarette brand. For this reason, and motivated 
by a long-standing animus toward the cigarette 
king, "Buck" Duke, Reynolds launched several 
cigarettes of his own. He tried Reyno, a nickel 
brand; he tried Osman, a Turkish blend; and he 
tried Camel. 

Reynolds' success in marketing flat Bright plug 
against the Burley trend, beginning in 1875, did 
not close his mind to innovation. He entered the 
smoking tobacco field in 1895 and introduced a 
Burley pipe mixture, Prince Albert, in 1907. So the 
new Camel was no half-hearted compromise with 
the burgeoning taste for Burley: it was then, and 
remains, one of the burliest of the Burley blends, 
emphatically flavored. Because it contained less of 
the imported Turkish leaf, Camel undersold the 

typical Turkish brand, 10c per pack of twenty as 
against 15c. And because it gave smokers what they 
were looking for, Camel took the lead among ciga- 
rette brands, a position it held in thirty-one of the 
next forty-six years. As with many tobacco innova- 
tions, circumstances lent a helping hand: the World 
War I shortage of Turkish leaf hobbled the oriental 
blends just as Camel was hitting its stride. 

Though a Southerner — he was a 15-year-old boy 
on a Critz, Virginia tobacco farm when Lee sur- 
rendered to Grant at Appomatox, 115 miles away 
— Reynolds had a Yankee's thrift and a Yankee's 
sharp pencil. As a manufacturer, he quickly got the 
hang of mass production: R. J. Reynolds Tobacco 
Co. is still unique in that all its manufacturing is 
concentrated in one cluster of factories in Winston. 


As a salesman he had learned to go after business 
himself (on horseback, in his twenties) and re- 
jected the leisurely old consignment system. As a 
businessman, he was quick to adapt his flat plug 
to the national sweet tooth, quick to ride the Burley 
bandwagon, quick to try the Burley blend in ciga- 
rette form just as the white roll was catching on. 
Stubborn enough to resist J. B. Duke even while 
Duke had financial control of his firm, he was not 
too stubborn to abandon tobacco traditions at the 
right time. In this respect he was the opposite of his 
cantankerous Winston neighbor, Bill Taylor. 

In retrospect the great moves in tobacco-making 
seem logical, orderly, indicated. Granulating sweet 
Bright tobacco for easy pouring, as in Bull Durham; 
blending Burley and Bright in cut plug; blending 

Burley and Bright for cigarettes, as in Camel — 
these, with the aid of hindsight, seem evolutionary 
rather than revolutionary. So do the more recent 
moves which have produced dramatic growth 
curves like that of the 1913 Camel: the lengthen- 
ing of the cigarette to king-size in 1939, which gave 
rise to the brand that is now Camel's closest chal- 
lenger, Pall Mall; the combination of menthol fla- 
voring and a filter tip — neither in itself novel — in 
the 1956 Salem, the latter a modern Reynolds "in- 
vention." The capacity for such invention, some- 
times miscalled intuition, is the essence of the suc- 
cessful business mind. It enabled the bearded Dick 
Reynolds to achieve 40% of the nation's cigarette 
business and 20% of its chew and smokum volume 
by the time of his death in 1918. 

Concentration of production in Winston-Salem has 
characterized Reynolds Tobacco since its founding. 

Winston plants, research laboratory, headquarters 
building are within walking distance of each other. 


During World War I, the U. S. insured the supply of factory output of Bull Durham. Two 30-car freight 
tobacco for overseas troops by commandeering full trains a month carried the sacked tobacco to port 

In many ways, this switch from foreign or 
pseudo-foreign cigarettes to "domestic blends" was 
similar to the change from foreign snuff to good old 
American quid a century before. It reflected, in a 
subtle way, a new stage of maturity, a change 
from imitation to self-realization. No doubt the 

exhilarating experience of the 1917 war had a good 
deal to do with this. 

The use of tobacco, especially new forms of it, is 
almost always enhanced in one way or another by 
war, and World War I was no exception. General 
John J. Pershing, commanding the American Ex- 

GeneralPershingcommandedAmericanExpedition- One of Pershing's officers had been photographed 
ary Force in France, said: "You ask me what we need in 1911 with his corncob pipe. Douglas Mac Arthur 
to win this war. I answer tobacco as much as bullets." became great general, pipe became his trademark. 


from Durham. This string of freight cars held more cigarettes on a "roll-your-own" basis, 33 per bag. 
than 11,000,000 sacks— enough to make 400,000,000 Doughboys were exhortedto "smoke out the Kaiser." 

peditionary Force, made his requirements clear: 
"You ask me what we need to win this war. I an- 
swer tobacco as much as bullets." Past military 
experience had indicated the value of tobacco to 
morale, and the Federal Government comman- 
deered manufactured products for its troops. (The 
entire production of the Bull Durham factory, still 
in Durham, was requisitioned for overseas ship- 
ment in 1918. ) In addition, such private agencies as 
the Y.M.C.A. and the Our Boys in France Tobacco 
Fund sent tobacco by the ton to be sold at cost or 
given to the doughboys. Turkish tobacco, which 
had played so important a role several wars previ- 
ously, was this time cut off from its western cus- 
tomers. This permanently cooled the rage for Turk- 
ish among American smokers, who went over in a 
body to domestic blends. The dwarfed Turkish leaf 
remained an important "seasoning" ingredient, but 
by now the blend was the thing; even the redoubt- 
able Bull Durham, straight Bright in a sack, was 
no longer sufficient unto itself for pipe smoking. 
Advertisements recommended its use "mixed with 
your favorite pipe tobacco, like sugar in your 

Although the typical American cigarette was 
known in the industry as a "Burley blend," more 
than half of the mixture was Bright tobacco. The 
amount of Burley varied between a fifth and two- 
fifths, with lesser proportions of Turkish and Mary- 
land leaf. In 1919, only half a dozen years after 
this formula evolved, the smoking market was a 
three-way proposition with cigarettes, cigars and 
pipe tobacco each consumed to the tune of one- 
and-a-half pounds per American per year. Ten 
years later cigarettes were twice as important, by 

weight, as either of the two rival smokes; twenty 
years later, four times as weighty; thirty-five years 
later, the mythical average American smoked seven 
pounds of cigarettes a year, one pound of cigars, 
and half a pound of pipe tobacco. 

Loose-leaved auctions 

Although this steady rise in tobacco consumption 
(about 3% a year) would seem to be ideal from 
the standpoint of planters, the story of the leaf 
growers is punctuated with violence and discon- 
tent. Like the tidewater tobaccomen, who literally 
outgrew the rising European demand and suffered 
low prices from their over-production, modern 
farmers have been handicapped by surpluses gen- 
erated by zeal for volume in their cash crop. Al- 
though this problem has never been completely 
overcome, farm unrest seems to have reached a 
climax with the change-over from hogshead to 
loose-leaf selling. Loose-leaf selling pinned prices to 
quality of leaf more exactly than had ever been 
done before: nesting inferior leaf inside good, and 
"sanding" hands of tobacco to add weight, were 
largely eliminated. Resentment was first evidenced 
in Danville, Virginia during the 1870s, and the tar- 
get was the warehouseman, who was held to be 
responsible for low prices. A Granger movement 
arose, then dissolved when prices went up again. 

As loose-leaf auctions became general in the 
Bright country, the suspicion grew that warehouse- 
men were parasites, and that too much of the sale 
price was absorbed by clerks, weighmen, auction- 
eers and others in the warehousing business. A 
Farmers' Alliance attempted to cut down on the 
cost of marketing and even set up its own ware- 


S^* ..•■*' - w * • -i^> 


? /-;*' : -'%/ SS«^»^fe: 

Tobacco crop is begun in early spring, seedlings raked. During weeks of first growth, plant bed is 
being planted in a special patch of fresh ground bordered with logs, covered over with cheesecloth, 
which has first been burned over, then hoed, then When six inches high, seedlings are transplanted. 

houses. This did not result in any lowering of com- 
missions, but it led to a related effort, the tobacco 
pool. By 1907 the Tobacco Growers' Protective As- 
sociation was redrying its own flue-cured leaf and 
storing it for direct bulk sale to the manufacturer. 
Bulk sale of leaf "in dry prizery" was not only ad- 
vantageous in bargaining, but overcame farmers' 
objections to the speed of auction sales. Although 
most markets limited the chanting auctioneers to 
300 baskets an hour, growers felt that twelve sec- 
onds was too short a time for either seller or buyer 
to do justice to the leaf's true quality. Warehouse- 
men in the Bright country, of course, bitterly op- 
posed the pool idea during the six years it lasted. 
But the pools did not bring in the best prices for 
their redried leaf, and farmers began to drift back 
to the auctions. 

Still, the notion of dispensing with the middle- 
man was a long way from being squashed. A new 
group, the Farmers' Union, reminded planters that 
"men go into the warehouse business as poor as a 
church mouse, and strut out as big as a king." 
Plants for redrying and storage were built in a 
score of localities, including Wilson and Reidsville, 
North Carolina; these were operated successfully, 
although they did not handle more than a small 
fraction of the flue-cured crop. 

The Black Patch 

Pooling in the Burley area had a parallel history 
but a more violent one, beginning in the 1900s. The 
most troubled area was the so-called Black Patch 
of western Kentucky and Tennessee, this dark to- 
bacco area being the last to go over to loose-leaf 


Flue-cure is a touchy process requiring all-night end of cure a hot barn with its very dry, spaced- 
vigil against the risk of fire. Barn must be heat- out tobacco leaves is a virtual tinder box. Lemon 
tight so that temperature can be controlled. Near coloring requires great heat for 48 hours or more. 

selling. The local protective association built a 
force of "Possum Hunters" or "Night Riders" which 
eventually numbered around 10,000 men. Their 
object was to persuade all tobacco planters to join, 
using physical force if necessary. The association 
started up its own storages, and by 1907 sold vir- 
tually all the Black Patch crop. Farmers who held 
aloof or spoke out against the association— known 
as Hill Billies— were given tangible cause to regret 
it, and many fled north across the Ohio. Violence 
bred more violence: destruction of plant beds and 
barns was followed by the burning of factories and 
warehouses; murder was committed by both sides. 
The local courts took no action, but one of the 
"Night Rider Refugees," Robert Hollowell, sued a 
group of his former tormentors in the federal 
courts. He was awarded damages. Other suits fol- 

lowed, and the military speedily moved in to slap 
a rein on night riding. 

Again, farmers drifted back to the loose-leaf auc- 
tions by choice after the pool had failed to yield 
any price advantage. 

No sooner had peace broken out in the two great 
tobacco regions than war broke out in Europe. 
Average prices on the Old Belt, wlich had run 
around 13c between 1911 and 1915, shot to 35c 
during the next four years. A similar price bonanza 
visited the rest of the Bright country and the Bur- 
ley region as well. Pooling was forgotten— until the 
years of reckoning, 1920 and 1921. All over the na- 
tion wartime prosperity collapsed with a dull thud, 
and tobacco was no exception. Old Belt price aver- 
ages declined from a dizzying 53.9c in 1919 to 22c 
in the two years following. Leaf growers' associa- 


tions again formed, this time in a more businesslike 
than bitter mood. There were three new groups, 
one for Burley, one for Bright, one for dark tobacco 
in the Black Patch (Maryland, always an island 
unto itself, had kept its own growers association 
unchanged for some years). Farmers in every re- 
gion signed into the pools by the tens of thousands, 
and in 1923 nearly half the nation's crop was mar- 
keted through the "co-ops." 

Pools and prices 

The brief success of pooling was founded on the 
thirty years of pro and con propaganda which had 
conditioned the farmer to doubt the fairness of in- 
dependent auction selling. But no sooner had the 
pools swung into volume operation than the farmer 
began to doubt the fairness — and sometimes the 
integrity — of the co-op officials to whom he had 
committed his financial future. No tangible proof 
of gain was forthcoming; prices in most areas 

hovered around the 1921 level. Again, farmers 
thought their chances might be better if they took 
their own leaf to market, and after three or four 
years of pooling, most of them returned to the 
auction sales. A possibly higher price was more 
desirable than a certainly average one. 

An interesting sidelight on the pooling rush of 
the mid-20s was that the buyers for European con- 
cerns — among them the dominant British firm, 
Imperial Tobacco— were said to regard the co-ops 
as a kind of farmers' trust and therefore hesitated 
to lend support by purchasing from them. How- 
ever, the pools counted substantial customers 
among American manufacturers and even received 
encouragement from them, so the European atti- 
tude was not vital to their survival. In the last 
analysis, it was the individual farmer who decided 
whether to play pool or not. And his answer— given 
this time without the rosy influence of rising prices 
—was again negative. 

There is no better term to describe this aversion 

Black Patch area of western Kentucky was last to 
adopt auction system. In 1900s planters organized 
a selling pool and Night Riders used violence to 

force all tobacco growers to -join. To protect the 
"Hill Billies" from Night Riders the military was 
called in (above). But pools did not raise prices. 


Auction sale is highly-organized method of selling baskets, auctioneer and warehouse clerks on other 
millions of pounds of leaf in small lots. Tobacco side facing them. Buyers judge leaf with look and 
buyers (right) walk single file alongside row of touch, signal their bids by wink or raised finger. 

to collective action than "rugged individualism," a 
trait which persists even in the present age of farm 

Crop control 

The market averages kept to a plateau during 
the 20s, slightly under the 20c level. By now the 
puzzle of leaf surpluses, which had defied solution 
ever since the Jamestowners rushed to duplicate 
John Rolfe's garden, had been mulled over in a ten- 
tative way by the Federal Government. As early 
as 1924 a bill was proposed in Congress to set up 
an export corporation with government funds, buy 
the oversupply of leaf from the domestic market 
and sell it abroad. This idea was defeated in Wash- 
ington four times. When the Great Depression of 
1930 struck, dropping leaf to 8c, tobacco was not 

overlooked in the flurry of remedial legislation. It 
was one of the seven basic commodities to come un- 
der the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933; at 
that time the "adjustment" took the form of acreage 
restrictions and loans against surplus production. 
Five years later the national economy, including 
leaf prices, plummeted again and a second control 
was added — marketing quotas ( not production 
quotas, but acreage limits ) subject to a validating 
vote by two-thirds of the farmers themselves. Pools 
of a new kind were established to receive farmers' 
leaf. However, these were not obliged to resell the 
surplus tobacco they accumulated, for the capital 
for their operation was furnished on an indefinite 
loan basis by the U. S. Government, and the farm- 
ers received cash on the hogshead. 

From 1938 onward it was an unusual year that 


did not set a new price record for flue-cured or 
Burley tobacco or both. In that year, tobacco was 
the most valuable farm crop grown in North Amer- 
ica, next to grain. Demand might push up the price 
—as in 1956-57, when Burley averaged 63.3 cents, 
up 8% from the crop year before— but the "parity 
payment" system of loans prevented the price from 
collapsing. Any farmer with gradable tobacco 
could turn it over to the government, if he chose, 
for a price equal to 90% of parity, the latter com- 
puted by the Department of Agriculture to equate 
the price of farm produce with a constant amount 
of purchasing power. 

Supported prices and restricted acreage did not 
outmode the rural equivalent of business enter- 
prise. In the Bright region a saying goes, "Every 
time they take an acreage cut, they build another 
barn." The added barns were to handle the extra 
yield. By closer spacing of plants, intensified fer- 
tilizing and the planting of high-yield strains, 
poundage per acre zoomed between 1929-33 and 
1956, yield increasing from 777 to 1,591 pounds per 
Burley acre, from 707 to 1,609 per Bright. 

The combination of price support and acreage 
restrictions had its disadvantages. One obvious 
way to get around these confinements was to space 
the tobacco plants very close together. Also there 
was widespread adoption of new varieties notable 
for disease resistance, high yield, thinness and lack 
of flavor; it was "pale and slick" in the circuit rider's 
language, "low to lacking in flavor and aroma, gen- 

A tablespoonful of tobacco seed sows six acres. 

erally of light body, and/or currently with poor 
acceptance in the trade," in Department of Agricul- 
ture phraseology. There had accumulated by 1956 
in the government-financed pool some 200,000,000 
pounds of such unsalable leaf; one manufacturer 
suggested that it ought to be burned, but not in 
pipes or cigarettes. With loans against surplus farm 
commodities pressing toward the legal dollar limit 
and foreign buyers reducing their purchases, the 
Secretary of Agriculture announced that these va- 
rieties would be supported at only half the support 
price of comparable grades. A month later he was 
moved to add: 

We are not restricting the right of tobacco farm- 
ers to grow these varieties if they wish. We are 
merely saying that public funds will not be used 
to encourage production of tobacco varieties 
judged by the trade to be inferior. This principle 
has been previously applied to wheat. It is a part 
of our general policy of maintaining and expand- 
ing markets through encouraging, where possi- 
ble, the production of quality products. 

There were difficulties, too, with some of the 
chemicals marketed to farmers in the years that 
followed World War II. The excessive use of 
fertilizer, for instance, could and did affect the 
chemical composition of Nicotiana tabacum — in 
particular, the all-important nicotine content. Not 
only chemical composition but physical properties 
were affected by a growth inhibitor sold in the 
tobacco country. This substance ended mitosis, or 
cell division, in the developing plant but permitted 
the existing cellular structure to enlarge. Growers 
were almost as enthusiastic about this chemical as 
its manufacturer, for it not only spared them the 
tedious hand labor of removing the suckers (side 
sprouts) but increased yield as well. Cigarette 
makers were not so enthusiastic, however, for the 
resulting tobacco leaf tended to be coarse, slick 
and small — a step backward from the light, fluffy 
leaf developed over many decades. 

With price support levels not only firm but inch- 
ing higher, it became more difficult to maintain 
leaf quality in the face of the understandable quest 
for quantity. But the upward spiral posed a new 
problem, threatening to price American farmers 
and American tobacco out of their traditional ex- 
port market. In 1958, exports of unmanufactured 
leaf were actually below the average of the pre- 















Average price per pound paid farmers for Burley 
leaf (above) shows fluctuations similar to those 
for Bright. Postwar and depression lows occurred 

in 1920, 1931, 1940, 1945. However, 1945 drop was 
slight, checked by price support system. Average 
market price has quadrupled in last sixteen years. 

vious ten years. And this average, in turn, was a 
scant 5% higher than that for the 30s, when the 
depression and agricultural adjustment made their 
appearance in quick succession. 

"Roll your own and save your roll" 

"Little tube of mighty power" the cigarette may 
be, but its status has been shaken at times. As its 
early nickname of "tailor-mades" suggests, the 
manufactured cigarette is really a convenience ar- 
ticle, by no means the least expensive way of satis- 
fying the taste for tobacco. A nickel sack of Bull 
Durham ( carrying a tax of y 2 c ) can be rolled into 
about 33 "handmades." A pound tin of pipe to- 

bacco contains the equivalent of 18 packs of ciga- 
rettes at a third of the cost (the tax differential, 
again, being a large factor). Since the cigarette 
blend is related more closely to the pipe mixture 
than to any other form, one might expect some de- 
gree of interchangeability between the two. There 
is— and it makes itself felt when the money pinch is 
on. Part of the cigarette's growth in good times has 
represented pipe smokers converted to the white 
roll, and in bad times vice versa. 

This two-way convertibility was first noticed 
after the panic in 1907. The expensive cigar fell off 
abruptly; the fast-rising cigarette curve flattened; 
but per capita pipefuls went up. Again, as the post- 
war depression of 1920-21 curtailed the purchase of 


' " ■■'■»■»■ ■ ■ » ■.. ■■!>■■■ m 

»» ■ ■■—■ — - ■■■ . ■.»»— ■ — 1 

Depression after 1929 revived demand for smoking one last fling. In 1932 the sales of factory-made 
tobaccos granulated to "pour" into roll-your-own cigarettes dropped- 10,000,000,000; sale of papers 
cigarettes. Bull Durham emerged from its pen for for rolling your own increasedby the same number. 

silk shirts and imported Havanas, smoking tobacco 
sales took an upward turn and the upward surge of 
the cigarette was slowed. Between 1929 and 1933, 
more brothers could spare a dime for smoking to- 
bacco, fewer could lay out 15c for cigarettes. 

The obvious answer to this was a ten-cent pack 
of cigarettes, made possible by the drop of leaf to- 

bacco on the markets from 20c to 8c. To rescue 
their own trademarks from the "ten-centers" the 
established manufacturers had to meet the dime 
price. At the same time, to rescue the farmers, they 
promised President Herbert Hoover to purchase 
stipulated poundages of Burley and Bright at aver- 
age prices of 12c and 17c respectively. Old Man 

"Roll-your-own" cigarettes are becoming a lost art. is making a hollow in the tobacco to distribute it. 
First step is pouring tobacco into a folded paper— Third step, start of roll, is done with horizontal 
a crease is recommended for beginners. Second step thumbs, as cigarette rests on the middle fingers. 


Depression proved harder to chase away than the 
upstart ten-cent brands, and while the money 
squeeze was on, Bull Durham and the other "roll 
your own" tobaccos snorted back for one last fling. 
The gain in Bull Durham alone between 1930 
and 1932 was 9,000,000 pounds - enough to roll 
three and a half billion "do-it-yourself" cigarettes. 
As measured by increased sales of cigarette papers, 
some ten billion cigarettes were rolled by hand ( or 
on little machines sold by smoking tobacco manu- 
facturers) in 1932. At the same time, and not by 
coincidence, the sales of "tailor-mades" dropped by 
ten billion. Despite the severity of the Great De- 
pression, per capita consumption of tobacco in all 
forms showed a relatively slight dip — from 7. 18 
pounds in 1929 to a little over six pounds in 1932 
and back to 7.16 pounds by 1936. These figures, of 
course, reflect only tax-paid withdrawals; no one 
knows how much leaf was consumed by farmers 
short of cash as "long green" or "hillside navy." 

Clipped cigars 

While the decline in cigarette output between 
1929 and 1932 was substantial— about 12% in terms 
of leaf used in manufacture— in cigar smoking, even 
more sensitive to income changes, it was a drastic 
50%. But even before the depression struck, cigar 
sales had been gently declining. 

Cigar-making machinery, rendered practical by 
1917, came too late to stem the brown roll's gradual 
volume loss. In 1924, only about a tenth of all cigars 
were machine made; in 1929, little more than a 
third. Cigarette machinery had a head start of 34 
years, and the cigarette industry was a kind of big 
business in miniature, organized and efficient, by 
1890, while the more massive cigar business was 
literally a multiplication of tiny shops — 20,000 in 

1900, 22,000 as late as 1910. Furthermore a single 
"domestic cigar" of standard quality had to retail 
at 10c or more after World War II. In share of 
market this class — led by the El Roi-Tan, Phillies 
and White Owl brands— became the most important. 
Bonded clear Havanas or imported Cuban cigars 
of top quality in corona size ( about 6" long, %" in 
diameter ) can scarcely sell for less than 35c apiece. 
With cigarettes available in 1,500,000 outlets at 
25c or so for 20— and almost everywhere in a fresher 
state than cigars, an important consideration for a 
perishable product — the cigar has abdicated its 
everyday place even in New England, and has been 
kicked upstairs to the luxury class. 

The' five-cent cigar 

This fact of economics had been immortalized in 
wistful fashion by Thomas R. Marshall, Vice Presi- 
dent of the U. S. under Woodrow Wilson. A Demo- 
crat, Marshall listened to a Republican Senator 
ramble on at length about the country's needs and 
reacted with: "What this country needs is a really 
good five cent cigar!" Nothing else Marshall ever 
said was quite so well put; certainly, he is remem- 
bered for nothing else— proof , perhaps, of the place 
held by cigars in the story of Americans and their 

Marshall's remark contained the germ of eco- 
nomic truth; manufacturers realized that only a 
five-cent cigar could even begin to compete in the 
mass market with cigarettes costing three-quarters 
of a cent apiece (the pack of 20 generally sold 
around 15c during the 20s and 30s). As machines 
were perfected it appeared to some tobaccomen 
that, given automation plus national promotion, 
the brown roll could give the white one a run for 
the smoker's money. The attempt was made; 


As roll is finished, the hands are gradually drawn 
apart. If near flap of paper is properly tucked in, 
cigarette will hold shape when one hand is removed. 

Final step is to moisten and seal the farther flap 
(result, right). One of the ends — the end to light 
— is pinched or twisted sufficiently to close it. 


Thomas R. Marshall is remembered for his classic 
remark: "What this country needs is a really good 
five cent cigar!" He was also U. S. Vice President. 

Pipe smoking was second only to cigarettes on per 
capita basis between 1930 and 1945. Among its most 
noted exponents was Charles G. Dawes, who was Vice 
President under Coolidge. Most satisfactory wood 
is hard, even-grained French heath root, bruyere. 

machine-made cigars accounted for nearly half the 
market in 1930, more than half in 1931, 80% by 
1933. The small shop disappeared: there were 
10,800 cigar factories in 1925, 1,200 in 1955. Mean- 
while a massive advertising campaign was mounted 
for Cremo, dramatizing the hygienic nature of 
mechanized production: "Spit is a horrid word. But 
it is worse on the end of your cigar . . . Why run the 
risk of cigars made by dirty, yellowed fingers and 
tipped in spit? Remember, more than half of all 
cigars made in this country are still made by hand, 
and therefore subject to the risk of spit!" 

True enough, the typical cigar shop had been a 
most unsavory-looking den ( as the picture on page 
201 indicates) but it turned out that the absence 
of saliva was not an effective selling point. Nickel 
cigar sales rose, but not enough to justify advertis- 
ing budgets of cigarette proportions. 

During 1931 and 1932 it was difficult to sell even 
apples for a nickel, and the mighty effort to fulfill 
Marshall's desire was abandoned. Since then cigar 
consumption per capita has just about held its own; 
the cigar remains a specialty rather than a truly 
national branded product. Vast differences in brand 
rankings prevail from one region to another, and 
advertising is still as much regional as it is national. 
One prominent cigarette man called it a "cloak- 
and-suit" business, referring to the constant 
changes of cigar shapes going in and out of fashion. 
It is perhaps more accurate to call it a luxury hang- 
over from the Gilded Age, for the number of those 
who can afford to like fine Havanas ( at 25c or more 
apiece) is not legion. 

Exit pipe, pinch and plug 

Even though smoking tobacco and cigars were 
on the rise in 1890, that year saw the use of "eatin' 
tobacco" reach its per capita peak — nearly three 
pounds of plug, twist, or fine-cut being chewed for 
every man, woman and child. The "new" vogue for 
pipe-smoking reached its per capita peak (1.75 
pounds per American) in 1910, although by that 
time the cigarette was on the way up in popular 
esteem. Because population grew so quickly, the 
amount of leaf converted to chewing and smoking 
products increased apace: in 1917 this total reached 
a high of 446,000,000 pounds for both forms. Since 
then it has dwindled consistently, the present pro- 
duction of 150,000,000 pounds a year being equal 


As late as 1921, plug, smoking tobacco and the 6- Myers was still the mainstay of plug production, 
cigarette were about equal on a poundage basis. Sculptured hedges on its broad lawns identified the 
In that year the huge St. Louis plant of Liggett company's bellwether chewing tobacco — "Star." 

to somewhat less than half a pound of chaw per 
person and about the same amount of "smokum." 
Whether or not it has any significance, it is inter- 
esting that scrap tobacco was included with smok- 
ing tobacco figures by the Internal Revenue Bureau 
until 1930, while after that year it was lumped with 
chewing. Assuming scrap to be half smoked and 
half chewed, the use of pipe tobacco passed the 
chewing habit sometime in 1921 or 1922. 

The death knell of cud was rung on September 
14, 1955 by this memorandum to all Directors, Offi- 
cers, Department Heads and "Others Concerned" 
in the headquarters of The American Tobacco 

It has become impossible to hire persons in the 
New York area to clean and maintain cuspidors. 
Since the cuspidors presently on hand in the 
New York Office can no longer be serviced, it will 
be necessary to remove them promptly from the 
premises. Removal will take place this week end. 
Your cooperation in doing without this former 
convenience is solicited. 

Snuff, strangely, has hung on grimly for the last 
fifty years, varying very little from a per capita con- 
sumption of a quarter pound per annum during 
that time. In amount consumed snuff is now about 
even with scrap— the two forms being the cheapest 
modes of tobacco use. The taking of snuff, how- 
ever, is today far removed from the lordly sniffing 
of Regency beaux. Nine out of ten snuffers do not 
consume it as nose dust but place the powdered 
leaf in the mouth between gum and cheek. Thus 

The bulging cheek, once characteristic of most 
American men, is now seldom seen. Only men whose 
work precludes smoking — like this baseballer — 
chew tobacco. Others who cant smoke on the job 
suck snuff, now really a form of "eatin tobacco." 


I'd walk a mile! 

for ai Camel 

The pleasure is worth it. There's no substitute for 
Camel quality and that mild, fragrant Camel blend. 

The fellow who smokes Camels, wants Camels. That's 
because Camels have a smoothness, a fragrance and a mild- 
ness you can't get in another cigarette. 

Don't let anyone tell you that any other cigarette at any 
price is so good as Camels. 

Let your own taste be the judge. Try Camels for your- 
self. A few smooth, refreshing puffs and you'd walk a 
mile for a Camel, too. 


R. J. ll£.YNOLD^ T»ta«» I 
WWM -111— . N. C 

Consumer advertising during the 20s was dominated 
by three big blended cigarettes. "I'd Walk a Mile 
for a Camel" was signature of Reynolds campaigns. 



'■**-*$ -W.) 

—what the deuce 
does that mean? 

It means that NEW thing, in a cigarette, 
that does for your smoke-hunger exactly what 
a drink of cold water does for your thirst! 

To satisfy, a cigarette must do more than 
please the taste — it must "touch the smoke- 

That's what Chesterfields do. They let you 
know you are smoking — they SATISFY. 

And here's why — Chesterfields have body. 
The finer, silkier leaves of TURKISH have 
been properly blended with several varieties 
of the best DOMESTIC tobaccos, famous for 
their full-bodied flavor. 

SATISFY is something that no cigarette, 
except Chesterfields, can give you — regardless 
of price. Because no cigarette makircan copy 
the Chesterfield blend. 

Say "SATISFY" to your dealer. 


— of Turkish and Domestic tobaccos - blended 

Chesterfield, Liggett & Myers' brand, identified 
itself with slogan, "They Satisfy." Association of 
brand and given idea is a costly, long-term effort. 

snuff is at present a variant of chewing tobacco ex- 
cept that it is sucked or tasted, not chewed. 

The pipe, too— classic smoking medium of North 
America and Europe— continued to lose in favor. It 
is one form of smoking which requires a degree of 
skill. The tobacco must not be too dry, lest it bite, 
nor too moist, lest it fail to hold fire; the pipe must 
be caked, so as not to yield a raw taste, yet not 
soggy, so as not to impede the draw. Its mainte- 
nance requires copious pockets and large supplies 
of patience, matches, and leisure — qualifications 
met mainly by the college set, the retired set, and 
fishermen. In a desperate effort to revive the flag- 
ging art, a large pipemaker advertised in 1957: "Do 
Pipe Smokers Live Longer?" To which the wits 
were quick to reply: "No, it only seems longer." 
That smoking tobacco had seen its best days was 
underlined in the same year when the proprietors 
of Bull Durham moved the diminishing production 
of that once-lordly brand from Durham to Rich- 
mond. It was just one year less than a full century 
before, that Bull production, which was to revolu- 
tionize America's smoking tradition and to put 

Durham on the map, had begun in that town. But 
the move caused scarcely a ripple, inside or outside 

To the men who manage tobacco companies, the 
decline of snoose, smokestack, stogie and chaw was 
a highly predictable phenomenon even before 
World War I. By 1921— on a per capita poundage 
basis— the cigarette had pulled even with pipe and 
cigar; after 1922 ( see chart, page 244 ) it was no con- 
test. In any market as nearly universal as the smok- 
ing public — which now approximates 65,000,000 
persons in the U.S. alone— the momentum of change 
is slow in gathering, but once under way is inex- 
orable. The dropoff of pipe-smoking and chewing 
did not occur because the large companies diverted 
their advertising from these forms; rather, the re- 
verse is true. 


The strategy of profitable promotion was ex- 
pressed by George Washington Hill, who adver- 
tised Lucky Strike Cigarettes to brand leadership, 
as follows : "I believe in merchandising in the flow 


of the stream ... I don't like to sell horse shoes and 
buggy whips. I like to sell what is growing; then it 
is more easy for me to get my share of what is 
growing." In 1957 Hill's dictum was confirmed by 
a proponent of the mathematical technique known 
as operations research. Advertising, claimed Dr. 
Marcello Vidale of the Arthur D. Little research 
organization, is highly effective in attracting new 
buyers of a product, but ad dollars spent to retain 
old customers accomplish considerably less. 

Although twentieth-century changes in smoking 
fashions have stimulated massive advertising cam- 
paigns as each company scrambled to get its "share 
of what is growing," the precise role of advertising 
in the tobacco industry is not well understood. 
Advertising did not provide the impetus for the 
American smoking tradition, nor has it played a 
major role in effecting changes in tobacco usages. 
National consumption did not jump suddenly up- 
ward from 1910 to 1913, when tobacco advertising 
nearly doubled following the dissolution of the 
tobacco combination. And cigarette consumption 
actually experienced its sharpest increase during 
World War II, when all advertising was curtailed 
and the promotional budgets for some fairly large 
brands completely disappeared. Advertising is in- 
tended to win for a specific brand a larger share of 
the market, or to defend a specific brand against 
competitive products. 

Except for the introduction of new brands, the 
expense of advertising tobacco products is surpris- 
ingly low on a unit-cost basis. Referring to his 1952 
operations, the president of one of the largest com- 
panies told his stockholders that advertising ex- 
penses amounted to about one-third of a cent per 
package of twenty cigarettes. On the company's 
1952 volume of 141,000,000,000 cigarettes, this 
translates into $24 million worth of advertising, or 
17c per thousand cigarettes. By comparison, the 
value of the 2.8 pounds of leaf or thereabouts that 
go into a thousand finished cigarettes was some- 
thing like $3.00, and the value of the fifty blue 
Federal excise stamps was exactly $4.00. In a going 
business comprised of big-volume brands, adver- 
tising is an indispensable expense but not an over- 
powering one — 2.5% of the cost of manufacture if 
the 8c Federal tax is included, 5% or 6% if it is not. 
The 17c-per-thousand figure is a minimum, applic- 
able only to the three or four very largest brands; 

Advertising and selling dominated the 20s and 80s. 
George Washington Hill was advertising virtuoso, 
pulled his Lucky Strike brand up to Camel's level. 

an average for the fifteen largest brands would be 
perhaps twice that figure. There is, too, the recip- 
rocal relationship between leaf and advertising 
layouts — some companies pay more for leaf and 
less for promotion, others the reverse. 

Advertising plays its most critical part in the 
introduction of a new brand. Analysis of published 
statistics on unit sales, tax payments, and costs of 
sales for the large cigarette companies in 1957 
places the factory cost of 1,000 cigarettes of stand- 
ard size in the $6.50-$7.00 range. Against the whole- 
sale price of $8.28 this yields a "spread" between 
$1.25 and $1.75, out of which must come freight, 
selling-administrative overhead, and advertising. 
The breakeven point on a typical brand thus as- 
sumes an expenditure of no more than $1 or so 
per thousand on advertising. 

The minimum or "threshhold" figure for a year's 
national advertising, according to trade magazine 
estimates, is hardly less than $3 or $4 million — 
which means that an actively promoted new brand 
cannot contribute to profits until its volume exceeds 
three or four billion units per year. If the brand 



wailed NELL 

"But father, with his slick city ways and perfumed hair, he turned 
my head . . ." 

"Out ye go!" roared the irascible old yeoman . . '. "any gal of mine 
that gives away the last of my smoother and better OLD GOLDS suf- 
fers the consequences. Down to the corner store with ye, and bring 
back a fresh carton or never darken ray doorstep again !" 


c P. i-~".kt-:. O*. 


Listen in . . . OLD GOLD— PAUL WHITEMAN HOUR, every Tuesday, 9 P. M., Eastern Tim- 

Old Gold brand was advertised on a large scale 
beginning in 1926. John Held woodcuts were among 
many themes and approaches used in the brand's 
promotion. By 1937 Old Gold had 5% of the market. 

does not win this kind of volume within a year or 
two, advertising support is usually withdrawn. At 
least half of the 16 new brands introduced by the 
large manufacturers between 1950 and 1956— most 
of them king size or filter tip cigarettes— were "two- 
year rockets" in this category. Each represented an 
advertising investment of substantial proportions— 
$7 million, $8 million, $10 million, as Amos 'n Andy 
would have put it. In effect, the manufacturer 
must spend that much to introduce his product to 
the public before he can discover whether it is 
acceptable. The cost of making a new product 
known, of "buying" the general public reaction, is 

a necessary cost of doing business. But the expendi- 
ture itself is no guarantee of success. 

Selling, selling, selling 

By the 1920s tobacco manufacturing had com- 
pleted its long transition from a leisurely country 
craft to a competitive war waged on a national 
battlefield. In this war advertising was the heavy 
artillery. But the big cigarette brands had their 
infantry too — the foot-slogging sales forces which 
carried the competitive fight all the way to the 
smallest retail outlet, the "Mom and Pop" store. 

The main job of these sales forces was not taking 
orders, but reinforcing the advertising for their 
brands. This they did in several ways: by placing 
point-of-purchase display materials at or near the 
retail counters; by helping retailer and wholesaler 
rotate tobacco stocks properly, so as to keep a reg- 
ulated flow of fresh merchandise going to the con- 
sumer; and by "maintaining distribution," that is, 
inducing the storekeeper to carry their brands or 
tiding him over if he should be temporarily out 
of stock. This activity was quite as competitive, if 
not so spectacular, as the advertising barrages. And 
it grew more intense and more expensive as the 
number of retail outlets for tobacco multiplied. 

The tobacco salesman— now more properly called 
a brand missionary— was a breed distinctly different 
from the nineteenth-century drummer. Reliance on 
premiums as a means of wheedling cooperation 
from retailers was passe, along with consumer pre- 
miums like the silk flags, cigarette cards and prize 
coupons of the prewar period. The manufacturer's 
missionary man had no brummagems or special 
discounts to sell. Rather, his stock in trade was 
massive volume, rapid turnover— generated by the 
great weight of advertising directed at the con- 
sumer. Thus mass production was inevitably fol- 
lowed by mass retailing and the disappearance 
of the thousand-odd miscellaneous brands which 
divided the market at the century's turn. 

Old Gold 

Advertising and selling dominated the 20s and 
30s, and these were by no means limited to the 
three-cornered battle waged by Camel, Lucky 
Strike and Chesterfield. P. Lorillard, which had 
concentrated its cigarette efforts on Turkish brands 
since 1911, entered the battle of the blends in 1926 


Philip Morris brand, introduced as domestic blend 
during the 1930s, rounded out the so-called Big 
Five cigarettes. The brand's advertising featured 
little Johnny's clarion "call for Philip Morris." 

with Old Gold. Among its advertising techniques 
was the "Blindfold Test" ( involving Old Gold and 
three "unidentified" brands); print ads featuring 
John Held flappers, Petty girls, and Ripley's "Be- 
lieve It or Not"; radio; comic strips; and prize con- 
tests. Using every medium at its disposal, the brand 
fought its way into sizable volume and by 1937 
accounted for 5% of the U. S. cigarette sales total. 

Philip Morris Inc. 

In 1933, this achievement was duplicated by 
another new brand whose name dated back to the 
London tobacconist of the 1850s: Philip Morris. 

By now, the London firm had become Philip Morris 
& Co., Ltd., Inc., an American publicly-owned 
tobacco manufacturer. 

The new brand was introduced in the midst of 
the depression and in the face of strong competi- 
tion from the well-established Big Four. Philip 
Morris English Blend, in a distinctive brown pack- 
age, was priced to wholesale at 12c and retail at 
15c, as against 10.5c and 12.5c on the average for 
the established brands. This gave the trade an 
extra penny of profit during the new brand's forma- 
tive years, and this incentive served Philip Morris 
well. Early advertising was not on a massive scale, 
although it was memorable for the hiring, in March 
of 1933, of a diminutive page boy from the Hotel 
New Yorker, Johnny. He became, in effect, a living 
trade mark for the brand and his clarion "Call for 
Philip Morris!" was widely heard. The principal 
emphasis of the brand's growth, however, was in 
selling as distinct from advertising. 

By 1940 the Philip Morris brand achieved a pene- 
tration of 7% of national cigarette sales, and in 1950 
reached a peak of 40,000,000,000 units, or 11% of 
the U. S. total. 

The success of Philip Morris traced not only to 
concentration on personal selling, but also to the 
aristocratic aura with which the brand was sur- 
rounded. The company's older brands — including 
English Ovals, Marlboro, Philip Morris Oxford 
Blues and Philip Morris Cambridge — were expen- 
sive products. Thus Philip Morris English Blend, 
the full name under which the domestic cigarette 
was introduced, traded on the prestige of the costly 
Turkish brands already produced by the firm. It 
was this intangible advantage, along with its un- 
usual tobacco-brown packing and somewhat dif- 
ferent aroma, which enabled Philip Morris to 
command a higher retail price for a time. By World 
War II, when the brand had reached the No. 4 
position, the price was made competitive with that 
of other domestic blends. 

In common with its rivals, the Philip Morris com- 
pany in recent years has turned to what has been 
called a "department store" line of products — dif- 
ferent brands for different tastes. It has been espe- 
cially active in the repackaging of its major brands, 
beginning with the filter tip Marlboro in 1955, fol- 
lowed by new package designs for Philip Morris, 
Parliament, and Spud. 


World War II 

Partly as a result of the depressions of 1932 and 
1938, partly as the result of war production from 
1940 on, the expansion of city populations was 
accelerated. This showed up clearly in the statistics 
of cigarette consumption, which made their great- 
est percentage gains during the rapid urbanization 
of 1940-1946. 

In 1945, some 267 billion cigarettes were sold on 
the domestic market, an increase of 12% over 1944, 
48% over 1940, 124% over 1930. Yet demand was 
literally insatiable. Long lines formed outside to- 
bacco shops; the "off brands," thrown together with 
any and all leaf available on the markets, had a 
sales picnic. 

Leaf tobacco production on the farms was not 
the only bottleneck; there were shortages in pack- 
aging materials, in sugar, in glycerin, in transporta- 
tion space. 

In terms of total production there was no short- 

age: but some 18% of the cigarette output during 
1941-45, or 222.6 billion cigarettes, was sent over- 
seas. Tobacco was classed by President Franklin D. 
Roosevelt as an essential crop; draft boards were 
directed to defer tobacco farmers to insure maxi- 
mum output. Employees of Wright Aeronautical 
put up a fund of $10,000 for the war effort, wired 
General Douglas MacArthur to ask what his troops 
needed most. His reply was an echo of the one 
given by his old commanding officer, Black Jack 
Pershing, twenty-five years before. "The entire 
amount," he answered, "should be used to purchase 
American cigarettes which, of all personal comforts, 
are the most difficult to obtain here." 

Although they were intended for the personal 
use of the troops, cigarettes were widely put to use 
overseas as barter goods. Troops in France, for ex- 
ample, were paid in francs at 50 to the dollar. But 
it took 400 francs to buy a dollar's worth of mer- 
chandise where most desirable merchandise 

Although cigarette production increased 48% during formed outside tobacco establishments. This store, 

the five years of World War II, 18% of total output indowntownNewYorkCity,soldcigarettesbetween 

was shipped overseas to servicemen. This created a the hours of 11-12 and 3-4 daily. In January, 1945, 

shortage on the domestic market, and patient queues the proprietor served coffee to waiting customers. 


As in previous wars, field commanders called for American cigarettes as barter goods. For two years 
tobacco for the troops and got it. In addition to after V-E Day, cigarettes remained the most stable 
satisfying their smoking desires, troops utilized currency in the retail marts of European countries. 

changed hands — in the black market. The same 
situation obtained throughout Europe, where cur- 
rencies all but evaporated. It was inevitable that 
the grumbling American doughfaces should use 
their cigarettes and chocolate bars to buy what 
their pay could not. And they were encouraged by 
shopkeepers, who ran after strolling G.I.'s on the 
streets to bargain for American cigarettes. For two 
years after V-E Day, cigarettes remained the only 
stable currency in the retail marts of Germany, 
Italy and France. 

King size 

The changes that come in the wake of war usu- 
ally include tobacco changes, and War II was no 
exception. Along with ranch houses, foam rubber 
mattresses and plastic toys, modern design influ- 
enced the cigarette. The king size, 85 millimeters 
in length versus the "regular" 70 millimeters, took 
long steps toward the 25% of the market it was to 
capture by 1953. There was, as always, an under- 
lying consideration of taste, for the attenuated 

cigarette meant a milder smoke (the physical 
dimensions of a cigarette, like those of a cigar, 
greatly influence the characteristics of the deliv- 
ered smoke). 

The coming of the kings was not, actually, a 
sudden break in the direction of mildness. Gradu- 
ally, in the two decades before Pearl Harbor, ciga- 
rette grades of leaf were becoming less strong as 
farmers refined growing practices. Less strong 
meant, in effect, lower in nicotine content; virtually 
all the standard-size brands had become milder in 
this sense — although the adjective "milder" was so 
overworked in advertising that it nearly lost its 
meaning. The kings simply fitted into this trend. 
Those that succeeded owed their success not to 
fashionable length, but to the fact that they deliv- 
ered the "Burley-blend" taste in a somewhat 
filtered degree. 

The "modern design" of the king-sized cigarette 
marked an important change in the tobacco busi- 
ness. From the multitude of brands on the market 
in 1903 ( 12,600 chews, 7,000 smoking tobaccos, 








Per capita consumption of cigarettes by Americans year since the 30s, while pipe smoking (dotted red 
(red line) is now seven pounds a year. Smoking of line), chewing (dotted black line) and snuff usage 
cigars (black line) has held close to a pound per (broken black line) together account for a pound a 




'•••• •••••, 





year per American. Recent cigarette consumption is 
understated by leaf-poundage comparison, since the 
filter cigarette gives equal puffs with less leaf. 

2,100 cigarettes and cigars) there had emerged the 
battle of the big brands. Although many of the turn- 
of-the-century products coasted along on small vol- 
ume (and still do), the bulk of each company's 
business soon narrowed into one big brand. Almost 
the full weight of a company's advertising resources 
was placed behind a single cigarette. For a while, 
there were three big brands selling between 90% 
and 95% of the nation's cigarettes (Camel, Lucky 
Strike, Chesterfield). In 1926, P. Lorillard adver- 
tised its Old Gold brand into contention, and in the 
1930s the Philip Morris brand rounded out the so- 
called "Big Five." 

There were five big brands, and five big tobacco 
companies. Within a company, minor cigarette 
brands were not allowed to get in the way of the 
big one; quite a number of lesser brand names were 
sold off or farmed out. 

In 1939 George Washington Hill, whose adver- 
tising ability had brought Lucky Strike into peren- 
nial competition with Camel for the No. 1 spot, 
broke away from the one-big-brand idea with a 
king-size cigarette, Pall Mall. The new cigarette 
competed against all five standard brands, includ- 
ing Hill's own Lucky Strike. Pall Mall was given to 
a separate subsidiary company, American Cigarette 
and Cigar, and made to stand or fall "on its own 

The new corporate setup was analogous to Gen- 
eral Motors' splitting of its automobile brands into 
five divisions, competition thereafter taking place 
within the company as well as between companies. 
Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac 
battled each other in the market place, in addition 
to their existing rivalry with Ford and Chrysler 

Something of the same sort occurred in all ciga- 
rette companies. By 1951 each large manufacturer 
had a king-size brand alongside its regular. By 1956, 
each of the six major cigarette makers was actively 
promoting a regular, a king, and two filter brands. 
After five years of serious advertising, the filter 
brands included regular and king sizes as well as 
mentholated smokes. The old stiff cardboard box 
was revived in the form of the crushproof or "flip- 
top" box introduced by the Marlboro filter brand 
in 1954. This packing brought with it "long size" 
cigarettes, 80 millimeters long. During this fast 
shuffle, new brands zoomed to major status and old 


Franklin D. Roosevelt smoked a pipe as Secretary 
of the Navy, was a cigarette smoker as President. 
Long holder foreshadowed the king size cigarette. 

Starting in 1939, king size cigarettes (85 mm. as 
against 70 mm. for regulars) climbed steadily. In 
1956 55% of cigarettes were kings or 80 mm. "longs." 

ones faded to insignificance in the space of a year 
or two, putting a premium on quick-minded man- 
agement. In an age of mass advertising and mass 
distribution, national magazines and network tele- 
vision, any return to the old thousand-brand days 
seems doubtful; on the other hand, a return to a 
"standard" cigarette, with five brands holding 80% 
or 90% of the market, seems equally unlikely. The 
total demand for tobacco is, in the jargon of the 
economists, "relatively inelastic"; but the forms in 
which it is consumed, and the brand names attached 
to those forms, are seldom static for very long. 

In 1959, the brands actively promoted by the six 
large cigarette manufacturers numbered twenty- 
seven, marketed in some forty-four sizes and pack- 

Reynolds offered Camel (70 mm.), Cavalier (80 
mm.), Winston (filter tip, 80 mm. and 85 mm.) 
and Salem (filter tip mentholated, 85 mm.). 

American Tobacco offered Lucky Strike (70 


mm.), Pall Mall (85 mm.), Herbert Tareyton (85 
mm. ), Hit Parade (filter tip, 80 mm. and 85 mm.), 
Riviera (filter tip mentholated, 85 mm.) and Dual 
Filter Tareyton (filter tip, 85 mm.). 

Liggett & Myers offered Chesto'field (70 mm.), 
Chesterfield king (85 mm.), L b- M (filter tip, 70 
mm., 80 mm. and 85 mm.), Duke (filter tip, 85 
mm. ) and Oasis ( filter tip mentholated, 85 mm. ) . 

Lorillard offered Old Gold (70 mm.), Old Gold 
king (85 mm.), Old Gold Filter King (85 mm.), 
Kent (filter tip, 70 mm., 80 mm. and 85 mm.), 
Spring (filter tip mentholated, 85 mm.) and 
Newport (filter tip mentholated, 80 mm. and 85 

Philip Morris offered Philip Morris (70 mm.), 
Philip Morris long (80 mm.), Marlboro (filter tip, 
80 mm. and 85 mm.), Parliament (filter tip, 80 
mm. and 85 mm.), Alpine (filter tip mentholated, 
85 mm. ) and Spud (filter tip mentholated, 80 mm. ) . 

Brown & Williamson offered Viceroy (filter tip, 

80 mm. and 85 mm. ) , Kool (mentholated, 70 mm.), 
Kool ( filter tip mentholated, 85 mm. ) , Belair (filter 
tip mentholated, 85 mm.), Life (filter tip, 85 mm.), 
Raleigh (85 mm.) and Raleigh (filter tip, 85 mm.). 

Brown & Williamson 

Among the large cigarette makers, the exception 
to the "one big brand" philosophy was Brown & 
Williamson. Originally a small snuff firm in Win- 
ston-Salem, Brown & Williamson was purchased in 
1927 by British-American Tobacco Company 
( which had been severed from The American To- 
bacco Company in 1911). 

From the first, Brown & Williamson attempted 
to build its cigarette volume not by meeting the 
big brands head on, but by offering "specialty 
brands" appealing to limited segments of the mar- 
ket. It experimented with cork tips, filter tips, pre- 
mium coupons, wetproof paper, menthol— in short, 
with all the features the giant brands did not offer. 

Appropriately enough for a British-owned firm, 
B & W named its first cigarette for Sir Walter 
Raleigh, the legendary British tobacco promoter. 
Raleigh was made up with a blend similar to that 
of Camel, packed in a "saddlebag" box and priced 
at 20c in 1929, when cigarettes were selling two 
packs for 25c. Forced by depression into price com- 
petition, B & W swung to the other extreme with 
Target, a 10c roll-your-own tobacco with a steel- 
and-rubber rolling gadget, designed to yield fifty 
cigarettes for a dime. Price-consciousness among 
the public plus the low price of leaf tobacco led to 
Wings and Avalon, the so-called "ten centers." And 
the low cost of merchandise generally inspired 
B & W to revive premium coupons, which had died 
out after Camel emerged in 1913 with the legend 
on its pack "Don't look for premiums or coupons." 
Coupons were offered with a repackaged, popular- 
priced Raleigh, with the mentholated Kool, and 
with the filter tipped Viceroy. 

Following World War II B & W offered Life 
cigarettes with wetproof paper in the 80 millimeter 
"long" size. This length, five millimeters short of 
full king size, was to become popular ten years later 
in the flip-top box, but in the soft "cup" package 
it did not catch on. Brown & Williamson's filter 
brand, Viceroy, represented less than 8% of its 
cigarette volume as late as 1952, sixteen years after 
its original introduction. But it was this brand 

which lifted the company from the marginal cate- 
gory during the 1950s. By 1956 Viceroy reached 
a volume of 25,000,000,000 units; first on the filter 
scene at a popular price, Viceroy was the leading 
filter brand through 1954. 

Specialty markets, specialty makers 

Although cigarettes made up seven-eighths of 
U. S. tobacco purchases in 1958, the remaining 
eighth represented a retail volume of some $832 
million. About $250 million of this was spent for 

Appropriately, British-owned Brown 6- Williamson 
used Raleigh brand name for its first venture into 
cigarette field. Originally a high-priced product, 
Raleigh became a coupon brand during depressed 
30s. Shop figure of Sir Walter Raleigh, English to- 
bacco promoter, stands in Louisville headquarters. 


"manufactured tobacco"— smoking tobaccos, chew- 
ing tobacco, and snuff. 

Five of the six large cigarette firms originated in 
this "manufactured tobacco" field, and they retain 
many of the important pipe, plug or snuff brands. 
Other companies specialize in one or another of 
these categories; in snuff, U. S. Tobacco, American 
Snuff, George W. Helme Co.; in smoking tobacco, 
Larus & Brother, Bloch Brothers. There is still a 
"specialty cigarette" field, which includes Stephano 
Brothers and G. A. Georgopulo, among others. 
Many of their brands fall into the premium-priced 
category by virtue of special packing, tinted paper, 
or unusual (i.e., limited-demand) blends. 

Mechanization or no, there are still about 600 
cigar factories in the U. S., which in 1958 produced 
nearly $600 million worth of the brown rolls. Not 
all are small: the largest cigar firms (Consolidated, 
American Tobacco, General, Bayuk, D.W.G.) ac- 
count for roughly half of dollar cigar sales. Only in 
relation to the well-nigh-universal cigarette custom 
( 56% of American men, 30% of the ladies are regu- 
lar cigarette smokers) can the cigar business be 
called a "specialty." The custom which it serves is 
both long-standing (300 years) and widespread 
( one of every six American men occasionally, one 
out of twenty regularly) . So it is not surprising that 
the changing shape of cigarettes and their market 
should find a parallel in cigars. 

Thinned cigars 

Longer, thinner cigarettes after World War II 
were reflected in the static-volume cigar business. 

Where fat perfectos and "banker" sizes had once 
ruled the glassed counters, slim panetelas and 
palmas moved to the front row. Cigarillos, a short- 
filler cross between cigar and all-tobacco cigarette, 
gained some headway as a "thin" smoke. In addi- 
tion to their "youthful" slenderness and 4c or 5c 
price, they were helped by redesigned boxes and 
five-packings and for a time their makers thought 
they saw a bright, brown vision of the long-sought 
nickel cigar coming into its own. But the brown 
roll's turn-of-the-century dominance was not to 
return: per capita consumption in 1957 was almost 
identical with the 1932 figure. 

The constant research efforts of the cigar-men 
did give rise to an unexpected development during 
the 1950s — a development which, ironically, prom- 
ised greater advantage to cigarette manufacture 
than to cigar making. This was the development of 
reconstituted binder leaf, also known as HTL 
( homogenized tobacco leaf ) . As it comes from the 
field, the natural binder leaf yields four pieces suit- 
able for use in cigars plus a 30% remainder that is 
sold as scrap. By pulverizing the entire leaf and 
reconstituting it into a paper-like sheet, the wastage 
is eliminated. In September, 1955, the Department 
of Agriculture was moved to observe that "the de- 
velopment of a binder sheet is attracting consider- 
able attention and appears to have possibilities of 
extending the mechanization of the industry and 
reducing the labor in the production of cigars . . . 
One 5-cent brand of cigars and one brand of ciga- 
rillos containing Homogenized Tobacco Leaf have 
been on the market for more than 1 year, and very 









Between 1880 and 1910 cigarettes (red line) were a the cigar totals, but tax increased from 1c to 2c 
big-city luxury comparable to cigars (black line), per pack of 20 in 1897 and to 3c in 1898. Volume 
Late in the 1890s unit cigarette sales approached dropped off sharply. In 1902 tax reverted to 1.08c per 


good consumer acceptance has been reported for 
these products." 

Acceptance of HTL by tobacco growers could 
not, however, be described as "very good." Some- 
thing of an editorial storm arose in protest, not only 
in the Connecticut Valley but also in Virginia, the 
Carolinas, Kentucky and Tennessee. Cigarette 
manufacturers had also seen the possibilities in the 
new process, and a Senate investigation the follow- 
ing spring revealed that several of the big brands 
were using varying proportions of reconstituted 
leaf. Although the hearings produced talk of "junk 

smokes" and "synthetic leaf," no evidence was ad- 
duced to indicate that adulterants were being used 
— the leaf was simply taken apart and reprocessed 
in its own extracts. Even while the hearings were 
fresh in mind, however, some of the editorials took 
a calmer tone. Said one in a Raleigh, North Carolina 
daily: "The trouble is that science apparently has 
made the synthetic tobacco leaf so good that people 
like it . . . What bothers us is the hand-sized cloud 
on the horizon which betokens a future struggle to 
throw. a net of restrictions around homogenized 
tobacco leaf . . . We hope tobacco doesn't do it . . . 












pack of 20, and white rolls resumed increase. First to cigarettes. Growth was checked in 1930-32, when 
dramatic growth impetus was supplied by the first "rollyour own" cigarettes cut into" tailor-mades. " Ko- 
world war, during which American doughboys took rean War peak, 1952, was topped in 1958 and 1959. 


"Cigarette girls" of several eras depict story of 
the white roll. Carmen, the Spanish cigarette girl 
of Bizet's opera, was the archtype of recklessness. 

Flapper of 1920s may have smoked cigarettes out of 
sheer affectation, but symbolized the emancipation 
of women and made cigarette a truly national usage. 

Those whose livelihoods are involved in tobacco 
could profit from experience, and think up some 
other way of marching with the times." 

The HTL argument passed almost unnoticed out- 
side the tobacco states; it was a brushfire rather 
than a full-fledged controversy. But the cigarette 
itself was once again to be the subject of flaming 
headlines and incendiary allegations. 

Trial of the cigarette 

The figures for cigarette consumption from 1913 
to 1929 do not suggest controversy, for the curve 
( page 248 ) is smooth and upward. But the wowsers 
were not yet finished. Passage of the Eighteenth 
Amendment, prohibiting spiritus frumenti, encour- 
aged a revival of the anti-tobacco movement. No 
less a root-and-branch man than Billy Sunday him- 
self declared: "Prohibition is won; now for tobacco." 

The original attacks on tobacco were based on 
guilt by association; tobacco was discovered being 
used by the New World barbarians, ergo, tobacco 
was bad. This was the initial reaction of the edu- 
cated Spaniard, and it was echoed in 1604 by James 

I of England who asked: "What humour or policie 
can move us to imitate the barbarous and beastly 
manners of the wilde, godlesse, and slavish Indians, 
especially in so vile and stinking a custome?" 

Like many who followed him, James tried to 
"document" his essentially moral objection by im- 
puting harmful effects to smoking. "A custome," he 
wrote, "loathsome to the eye, hatefull to the nose, 
harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the lungs," 
and so forth. Echoes of his "Counterblaste to To- 
bacco" have recurred in many forms. In 1689, the 
Medical School of Paris officially sponsored the 
view that tobacco smoking shortened life. In 1798, 
Dr. Benjamin Rush blamed smoking and chewing 
tobacco for exciting a desire for strong drinks, "and 
these when taken between meals soon lead to in- 
temperance and drunkenness." Strong drink had 
taken the place of the savage Indian in Rush's 
theory of guilt by association. 

Guilt by association was the basis of the 1854 
assault against cigarette smoking; in that year the 
white roll was denounced as effeminate. But the 
charges against tobacco itself had not been dropped, 


although the tobacco-smoking custom was well into 
its fourth century. The Lancet, an English medical 
journal, featured "The Great Tobacco Question" 
during 1856-1857. One Dr. Hodgkin associated 
tobacco with the increase of crime. A Dr. Solly asso- 
ciated tobacco with nervous paralysis and loss of 
intellectual capacity. And a Dr. Schneider wrote, 
without documentation, that "So frequently is 
vision impaired by the constant use of tobacco, that 
spectacles may be said to be a part and parcel of a 
German, as a hat is to an Englishman. In America, 
likewise, where my practise has been extended, I 
have noted the same pernicious effects, and it is a 
well attested fact that the Americans wear them- 
selves out by the use of tobacco." These charges, 
based on superficial observation or no evidence at 
all, are remembered for their quaint romantic inter- 
est. But it is easy to forget that they did not still the 
voice of reason. The Lancet itself noted at the time 
that "the use of tobacco is widely spread, more 

widely than any one custom, form of worship, or 
religious belief, and that therefore it must have 
some good or at least pleasurable effects; that, if 
its evil effects were so dreadful as stated the human 
race would have ceased to exist." 

But the formula of guilt by association was used 
in almost every conceivable variation. Between 
1895 and 1909, cigarettes were accused of inducing 
moustaches on ladies' lips and increasing the popu- 
lation of insane asylums. In 1912 a Dr. Tidswell 
opined that "the most common cause of female 
sterility is the abuse of tobacco by males . . . those 
countries which use most tobacco have the largest 
number of stillbirths." Anti-tobacco campaigners 
demanded censorship of the nursery rhyme about 
Old King Cole because his majesty "called for his 
pipe." During the first World War one intemperate 
temperance leader cried that cigarettes were being 
doped to produce addiction and insure a steady 
flow of sales. 

Infancy of cigarette industry was marked by pretty 
Richmond hand-roller of the 1880s. No Carmen, she 
was highly trained, highly moral, painfully slow. 

Modern cigarette girl is called a "catcher." She 
monitors the output of high-speed machinery so as 
to catch imperfect cigarettes before packing stage. 


After the 1918 Armistice, these somewhat far- 
fetched objections were supplemented by less spe- 
cific ones. The 1854 charge was turned around: 
cigarettes were not effeminate but unladylike. The 
poor etiquette practiced by many ash-droppers and 
public puffers was cited in support of this. The 
redoubtable Lucy Page Gaston announced in 1920 
she would run for President on the no-tobacco issue. 
Some males, annoyed at feminist pretensions in gen- 
eral, affected horror at the idea of public puffing by 
their womanfolk and went along with Miss Gaston. 
Others, annoyed at the rising tide of "sticky-beak- 
ing," formed smokers' leagues to defend the right 
to light. Miss Gaston did not run for President, 
although she continued to campaign. Meanwhile 
the nation's ladies took to cigarette smoking in large 
numbers; the steep climb of cigarette sales, a dis- 
tinct departure from the gradual change that had 
characterized previous shifts in tobacco fashion, 
was generally credited to the fair sex. 

With the passing of Miss Gaston, her successors 
ranged the realm of medicine as well as the realm 
of manners. Tobacco was a poison, some charged, 
although the lengthening span of human life haidly 
bore out this contention. Opposition to tobacco 
during the 20s also continued to be based on social 
objections, with the short-skirted, cigarette-bran- 
dishing "flapper" as the symbolic target. Some men 
of medicine, made newly aware of the importance 
of psychological elements in human well-being, 
came to the defense of the tobacco tradition — in 
moderation, of course. The American Tobacco 
Company added this line to its Lucky Strike adver- 

tisements : "Be moderate — be moderate in all 
things, even in smoking." The clamor faded, and 
the anti-tobacco states one by one dropped their 
no-smoking-in-public statutes from the books. 

There was little time or inclination to carry on 
the debate during the grim 1930s. Tobacco was one 
of the few creature comforts that could be enjoyed 
by those in financial straits, even though some were 
obliged to abandon cigarettes for pipes or hand- 
made cigarettes. With the advent of War II, the 
need of G. I. Joe for fags and lucifers — and the 
need of home-fronters for solace — again came 
into focus. 

But the tendency to associate tobacco with ail- 
ments of unknown cause continued. As recently as 
1943 one anti-cigarette author wrote: "There is lit- 
tle doubt that smoking leads to consumption or 
tuberculosis. A study of the period 1930-1950 will 
be most interesting and will doubtless show a 
marked increase in tuberculosis of the female pop- 
ulation." (In 1956 the U. S. Public Health Service 
reported that the tuberculosis death rate for fe- 
males had decreased from 68.2 in 1930 to 14.7 in 
1950, 7.0 in 1953, and was still on the decrease.) 

The tuberculosis association was dropped as the 
infectious nature of that ailment became known. 
Medical attention shifted to increasing death rates 
from cancer, and especially lung cancer ( although 
the lung cancer death rate did not rise as much as 
the tuberculosis death rate decreased ) . It was inev- 
itable that someone should attempt to associate 
tobacco with this new — or, rather, previously 
rarely-diagnosed — ailment. 

Newest cigarette factory is this Lorillard plant at now manufactures 56% of the nations cigarettes, 
Greensboro, North Carolina. The Old North state 38% of its smoking tobacco, and 82% of its plug. 


Tobacco tradition remains strong along the banks 
of the James River where it began. Richmond makes 
one-fourth of the nations cigarettes and also a 
quarter of the country's smoking tobacco poundage. 

"Tobacco Row" above, includes factories of Philip 
Morris, Larus ir Brother (Edgeworth smoking 
tobacco) and The American Tobacco Company. 
Not visible in picture is Liggett 6- Myers plant. 

The attempt to associate smoking with respira- 
tory cancer was touched off in 1953 by a researcher 
who painted mice with concentrated tobacco ex- 
tract and thereby induced skin cancers. Thousands 
of the little creatures were sacrificed in scientific 
efforts to duplicate these results, most of them un- 
successful. No lung cancer was induced in any 
experimental animal by the administration of to- 
bacco smoke. Yet this was glossed over by the anti- 
cigarette crusaders: statistics were produced to 
show correlations between smoking and respiratory 
death rates. The lengthening span of life, the van- 
quishing of infectious diseases, and the resultant 
increase in neoplastic ailments whetted interest in 
the unknown cause of cell growth run wild. News- 
papers converted their reporters into science writers 
who outdid one another in grisly interpretations of 

death rates. 

It was in Washington, before a Congressional 
hearing in July 1957, that the "Great Tobacco Ques- 
tion" got its most complete examination. A number 
of reputable scientists testified that there was no 
sound basis for the cigarette cancer theory. The 
chief medical statistician of the Mayo Clinic ob- 
served that the statistical studies alleging associa- 
tion were rendered suspect by the lack of any 

pathological or biological evidence. A Yale pathol- 
ogist testified he had found it impossible to induce 
cancer in sensitive embryonic lung tissue with to- 
bacco derivatives, although he had done so with 
coal tar. An American Medical Association cancer 
research committee chairman testified that, even 
accepting the mouse skin cancer experiment as valid, 
a human would have to smoke 100,000 cigarettes 
daily to get an equivalent exposure. A New York 
professor of medicine pointed out that the relative 
percentage of female lung cancers was decreasing, 
although the number of female cigarette smokers 
was increasing. A Texas pathologist questioned 
whether lung cancer was increasing, or only the 
diagnosis of lung cancer. Dogs, it was pointed out, 
showed an increase in lung cancer but no increase 
in cigarette smoking. Possibly prompted by the 
publicity attending the hearings, Dr. Charles W. 
Mayo, head of the famous clinic, was moved to 
announce: "I just don't believe smoking causes 
lung cancer." 

Later the same year, the Southern Medical Asso- 
ciation received proof that cigarette smoking is not 
necessarily associated with diminished longevity 
or a higher risk of lung cancer or heart disease. 
Studies in nine cigarette plants of The American 


Tobacco Company, involving more than 115,000 
person-years and extending more than ten years, 
documented a population which 

( 1 ) smoked far more cigarettes than the aver- 
age — double the number consumed by the 
U. S. urban population; 

(2) definitely lived longer than average; and 

(3) showed average or lower-than-average 
death rates for cancer, lung cancers, cardio- 
vascular and coronary disease. 

"The existence of such a population," the study 
concluded, "makes it manifest that cigarette smok- 
ing per se is not necessarily or invariably associated 
with a higher risk of lung cancer or heart disease or 
with diminished longevity." The basic research was 
not a cigarette company product: mortality con- 
clusions had been published by two scientists of the 
U. S. Public Health Service, Dorn and Baum, and 
the smoking habits survey of the same general pop- 
ulation was done by the Institute of Statistics of the 
University of North Carolina. 

Automatic smoking machine, perfected during 30s, 
removes solid components of cigarette smoke under 
conditions which simulate normal human smoking. 

The filtered fifties 

The upward curve of cigarette use continued, 
but the "health scare" led to the revival of the old 
mouthpiece cigarette once favored by Russian aris- 
tocrats and novelty-keen New Yorkers. From a 
fringe position in 1951, with 1% of the domestic 
market, filter tip brands rose to 46% of sales by 

What started as a health fad was undoubtedly 
spurred by the attenuation of American taste in 
general: "mildness" became a desired attribute not 
only in cigarette smoke but also in beer, coffee, and 
other comestibles. The filter-tip also contributed to 
the cigarette as a convenience article, eliminating 
loose tobacco ends and affording a firmer purchase 
between the lips. Since filter tips were less expen- 
sive than the tobacco they replaced, manufacturers 
tumbled over each other in the race to create and 
promote new filter brands. 

The filter brands evolved from the so-called 
"mouthpiece" cigarette which dates from the nine- 
teenth century. A stiff paper tube extended from 
the tobacco column contained a puff of cotton 
through which the smoke stream passed. These 
were hard-to-manufacture, expensive specialties 
(as brand names like Tolstoi and Svoboda sug- 
gest). The premium-priced Parliament introduced 
in 1932 by Benson & Hedges was such a mouth- 
piece cigarette. 

In the popular-priced field the filter cigarette was 
also very much of a specialty item prior to the 
1950s. The Viceroy brand, introduced in 1936 by 
Brown & Williamson, used a cylinder of folded 
paper rather than a hollow tube with cotton. It 
achieved only nominal volume until 1952, when 
the filter move began. In 1954 Viceroy changed to 
the tip of cellulose acetate, a material which 
quickly became the "normal" filter. 

As filter demand rose, brands multiplied. Kent 
began in 1952 as a high-filtration brand with the 
tradename "Micronite" to suggest the micro-dimen- 
sional fibers in its tip. Lb- M, brought out in 1953 
with the cellulose acetate tip, later added crosswise 
fibers to increase filtering efficiency. Winston was 
introduced in 1954, also with a cellulose acetate tip, 
and by 1955 became the largest-selling filter brand. 
Marlboro appeared in 1954 with a cellulose acetate 
filter tradenamed "Selectrate" and packed in a 


"Practical" or everyday research is described by the 
phrase "quality control." Here cigarette shreds are 
magnified for accurate laboratory measurement. 

hinged "flip-top" or crush-proof box. In 1956 came 
Salem, which offered menthol flavoring in addition 
to its filter tip. These six brands constituted the 
major entries in the filter field by 1958. 

The market multiplied. In 1954 filter versions of 
the Herbert Tareyton and Old Gold brands ap- 
peared; the latter brand was now a three-way ciga- 
rette, offering a regular, a nonfilter king, and a 
filter, all under the same brand name. Other "splits" 
followed: Kool and Raleigh came out with filters. 
(Chesterfield and Philip Morris had already split 
into two-way nonfilter brands, each adding a king 
size to its standard size brand.) 

Innovations in filtration continued. Parliament 
promoted high filtration and a i/i-inch recess at its 
mouth end. The use of cellulose acetate was aban- 
doned in 1958 by Hit Parade in favor of an alpha 
cellulose tip, the object being higher filtration. The 
same year a double tip was offered by Dual Filter 

Tareyton; this tip was designed to give high filtra- 
tion of smoke vapors as well as the high filtration 
of smoke solids previously emphasized, and used 
activated charcoal in its inner filter element for this 

The innovating process was greatly spurred in 
1957 by a quickened public interest in high filtra- 
tion. This term was generally understood to mean 
substantial reduction in delivered smoke solids; to 
achieve this, some filters were tightened, some 
added granular material to the bundle of cellu- 
lose acetate filaments, and some used microscopic 
crimping processes. High filtration — expressed in 
various ways — became prominent in the promo- 
tion of several filter brands, most notably Kent, 
Parliament, and Hit Parade. Volume increases dur- 
ing the half-dozen years ended with 1958 were 
sudden and substantial: by the end of this span 
Winston had achieved a volume of 42,300,000,000, 
Kent 36,000,000,000, L&M 25,900,000,000, Viceroy 
21,000,000,000, Marlboro 20,700,000,000, and Salem 
19,000,000,000. These levels compared with re- 
ported totals of 63,500,000,000, 58,000,000,000, and 
47,200,000,000 for the three largest brands, the 
nonfilter Camel, Pall Mall and Lucky Strike, re- 

In its rise the filter market absorbed (and en- 
larged) the once-limited demand for mentholated 
smokes. This traced to 1926, when the old Axton- 
Fisher company brought out its Spud brand. How- 
ever this market, like the mouthpiece market, re- 
mained small for many years. Only Brown & 
Williamson's Kool — which offered prize coupons 
along with menthol flavoring during the 1930s — 
managed to achieve any kind of volume as a non- 
filter cigarette (12,700,000,000 by 1955). In 1956, 
however, Salem combined menthol flavoring with 
a filter tip and began to increase. By the end of the 
following year the menthol-filter market included 
a filtered Kool, a filtered Spud, Oasis and Newport 
in addition to Salem. By the end of 1958 men- 
tholated brands accounted for about one out of 
every six filter cigarettes smoked, one out of every 
twelve cigarettes of all types. 


Although each of the large cigarette companies 
now boasts an impressive research department, re- 
search in the scientific sense is relatively new to 


the tobacco industry. For the first quarter of the 
present century only the very largest firms even 
used the word — to mean, for all practical purposes, 
the kitchen craft of mixing flavoring recipes. Leaf 
buying was an art learned by tobacco men, not in 
any respect a science. 

During the 20s and 30s, as individual brands 
grew big enough to require up to 120,000,000 
pounds of good cigarette leaf in a single year, it was 
possible for the smartest leaf buyers to be out- 
smarted on the markets. Sometimes a bad- weather 
crop did not yield enough good leaf for all; some- 
times an alert company would snap up all the low- 
nicotine leaf on a given market the very first day, 
perhaps buying two years' supply instead of one 
and thus forcing the competition to buy the 
stronger pipe grades. Brand trends were sometimes 
created right on the warehouse floor, since the 
stronger cigarette thus "created" might easily lose 
consumers irrespective of the influence of adver- 
tising and brand psychology. 

Here was an opening for science — to define leaf 
characteristics (principally nicotine content) in 
precise chemical terms, preferably in advance of 
the market breaks by analyzing leaf samples gath- 
ered by scouts. This foreknowledge of the crop in 
various regions led to better management of buying 
organizations, better utilization of inventoried leaf. 
Analysis was extended to other tobacco constitu- 
ents — sugar, essential oils, aromatics. During the 
1930s, with development of the automatic smoking 
machine, the composition of smoke itself was inves- 
tigated, and the components of smoke traced to 
their precursors in the leaf. Fundamental differ- 
ences were found between the acid-producing 
Bright, the base-forming Burley and the aromatics- 
rich Turkish. In contrast to the flavoring formulas, 
always closely guarded trade secrets, much of this 
basic research was published in scientific journals. 

As research disclosed that the dimensions of a 
cigarette strongly influence the composition of its 
smoke and therefore its taste, research was drawn 













Battle of the brands began as three-cornered fight 
among Camel, Lucky Strike and Chesterfield; these 
brands at one time accounted for 90% of cigarette 
sales. Entry of Old Gold in 1926 and Philip Morris 
in 1933 made the big brands five in number. Brand 

battlefield expanded as kings became big factors — 
Pall Mall, Herbert Tareyton, and 85mm. offshoots 
of Chesterfield, Philip Morris, Old Gold. In last 
five years filter brands have moved up— Winston, 
Kent, hirM, Viceroy, Marlboro, Parliament, Salem. 


Basic or "pure" research on the composition of 
cigarette smoke makes no headlines but has great 
long-run importance in bettering product quality. 

Moisture content of factory samples is checked by 
drying the tobacco in miniature laboratory oven. 
Tests of this kind are part of a regular routine. 

into quality control of manufacturing. Using vari- 
ous tests — tests for airflow or "draw," tests for 
moisture content, tests for strand length, tests for 
loose ends, tests of cigarette paper — the labora- 
tories made major contributions to uniformity of 

The logical next step, developing milder and 
sweeter strains of tobacco, was a joint effort, shared 
by company researchers and the Experiment Sta- 
tions of the U. S. Department of Agriculture and 
of the various states. This type of cooperation was 
begun in 1949, and by 1953 most of the large 
cigarette firms were participating. 

The rise of the filter brands during the 50s 
brought research into the limelight. Findings of 
the "independent laboratory," confirming company 
research, became a prominent feature of cigarette 
ads. Usually such finding testified to a low level of 
nicotine and smoke solids (the latter inaccurately 
referred to as "tars" ) . From a scientific viewpoint, 
the emphasis on reduced smoke solids was anoma- 
lous, since these solids embody the taste and flavor 
of tobacco smoke. However, the public had been 
conditioned to demand reduced smoke solids, and 
such reduction simply responded to this demand. 
But different methods of smoke analysis yielded 
different results. As the 60s began, companies 
which had used nicotine and "tar" references in 
advertising eliminated them. 

Although no amount of chemical analysis can 
predict what the public taste will be, research can 
tailor a product to what the public taste is. Varia- 
tions in filter tips were manufactured in factories 
but conceived by white-coated Ph.D.s in the labo- 

As in other industries, scientific maturity in to- 
bacco was signalized by the arrival of basic research 
— research not aimed at an immediate or momen- 
tary competitive edge, but rather intended to sur- 
round manufacturing with a thorough knowledge 
of tobacco in its growing, its curing, its aging, its 
combustion. Beginning in 1952, radioactive tracers 
were used for more precise smoke analysis; one 
large company even purchased an interest in a 
nuclear reactor to further this line of inquiry. 
Studying an organic substance like tobacco is akin 
to studying the life process itself, for the constitu- 
ents of leaf change constantly during aging and 
burning. In this sense, research on tobacco may 
never end. And in the practical, competitive sense 
research may also be endless, for every generation 
of consumers seems to redefine the meaning of 
"tobacco quality." 

Pounds and dollars 

There are now 600,000 farmers who grow tobacco 
for cash sale. The cash averages more than one 
billion dollars a year, and much of it goes to 


small farmers. In the flue-cured tobacco area allot- 
ments average about 3.4 acres; in the Burley region, 
about one acre. 

By the time the annual billion dollars' worth of 
tobacco is auctioned, ordered, stemmed, aged, cut, 
blended, cased and packaged as cigarettes or smok- 
ing tobacco, it is worth about $1.6 billion. That 
value is more than doubled by the addition of Fed- 
eral excise taxes, which in 1958 amounted to $1.7 
billion. Costs of shipment, selling and advertising, 
plus the manufacturer's profit, add about $0.5 bil- 
lion, lifting the value of the crop to $3.8 billion. 
When it is distributed to the jobbers the state taxes 
—about $600 million worth— are added. After allow- 
ance is made for wholesalers' and retailers' profits, 

and a smidgeon of tobacco imports made from for- 
eign crops, the retail total of tobacco products in 
America for 1958 was $6.5 billion. Virtually the 
only place where the big cigarette brands are not 
on sale is the bottom of the Grand Canyon. 

Fresh "vegetable" 

One of the problems — perhaps the most impor- 
tant problem — in this wide distribution of tobacco 
is keeping it fresh. In a country like Cuba, a natural 
humidor, cigars and cigarettes keep well; in the 
temperate zones, artificial means of moisture con- 
trol are needed, and the irregularity of such care in 
retail outlets has prevented any wide appreciation 
of the flavor of fine cigars. Dried animal bladders 

A beginning in automatic packaging was made with jacket. At first, laminated "cups" were preformed 
the "cup" package— layers of paper-backed foil, a and cigarettes inserted by hand (above); now, the 
paper label and, later, a glassine or cellophane pack is machine-shaped around twenty cigarettes. 


used as tobacco containers by the early Spanish 
sailors were equivalent to the sealed cellophane 
wraps introduced in 1931 for cigarettes. Tinfoil, 
originally used as a plug preserver, was carried over 
to pipe tobacco and cigarettes. Cardboard boxes, 
the first packing for cigarettes, were relatively dur- 
able but their contents were subject to bruising and 
drying-out, particularly after the first couple of 
cigarettes had been smoked. The foil-lined, cello- 
phane-wrapped, flexible cup package, which mini- 
mizes this kind of damage, came into general use 
along with the first American blends, and most 
brands have used this packing since. 

As important to the slender cigarette as its outer 
wrapping is its inner preservative or hygroscopic 

agent, for holding the moisture content constant. 
The first such agent was glycerin, which came into 
general use during the 1890s. Like the giant "order- 
ing" cylinders which recondition the leaf as it comes 
from the markets, and the electronic moisture 
meters which keep tabs on the blended tobacco 
during its factory stages, the hygroscopic casing 
thwarts the rotting and withering that plagued the 
Tobacco Fleet shipments of colonial times. 

Since the flavor of the delivered smoke is strongly 
influenced by the cigarette's weight, length and 
diameter, precision manufacture is vital to uniform- 
ity of product. Shredding machines and "making 
machines," both adjustable to hairline tolerances, 
are much the same in every factory. For exact con- 

Making machine now has "cruising speed" of 1,200 so that weight and dimensions of finished product 
cigarettes per minute, top speed over 1,500. Flow will not vary/Machine prints brand name on ribbon 
of paper and shredded tobacco is exactly regulated of paper, forms, pastes, and shears tobacco tube. 


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Difficulty of preserving optimum flavor in retail 
outlets put the cigar at a disadvantage as against 
the cigarette. Latter had more protective package, 

contained moisture-retaining agent lacking in the 
cigar. Open-box display in non-humidified showcase 
made for dried-out goods, especially in the North. 

trol of the weight, length and thickness of each 
individual cigarette, beta-ray control devices are 
synchronized with the makers. But along with the 
factory similarities there are differences. Some pro- 
ducers still stem the raw leaf by hand, so that after 
the "strip leaf" passes through the factory and its 
cutting knives the shreds in the finished cigarette 
will be long. Others use thrashing machines to sepa- 
rate stem from leaf, the heavier stem particles being 
separated out by gravity. Even the timing of stem- 
ming is varied: a "green-leaf stemmery takes out 
the midrib before the strip leaf is aged in the stor- 
age sheds, while the unmodified word "stemmery" 
usually refers to the stemming of leaves after they 
have been sweated in hogshead for two or three 

There is no universal standard for this long "to- 

bacco sleep," either; for some years tight storage 
in sealed steel-roofed sheds was the rule, but of late 
ventilated storage has been widely and successfully 
used. The most obvious variation from brand to 
brand is the blend formula, now as in the plug-and- 
licorice days the best guarded of trade secrets. 

Whats in a name 

Thus the leaf market has been stabilized by the 
buying pattern of the large cigarette makers who 
use about 80% of each year's crop. As their brands 
have become national, manufacturers have been 
forced to buy the leaf grades that maintain consist- 
ent taste in their trademarked brands. Buying to 
price is not, of course, unknown. But over the years 
farmers came to know in a general way whose 
buyers went for which grades. As the "Big Five" 


Vitally important is tag meter, which measures the 
tobacco's moisture content at every manufacturing 
stage. Although typical cigarette plant is itself a 

huge humidor, exact control of moisture level is 
necessary so that final product will retain flavor 
as long as possible through the distribution chain. 

standard brands split up into king-size, filter tip 
and mentholated specialties during the 50s, the pat- 
tern of "buying to the trademark" was obvious not 
only to the leaf grower but even to the consumer. 
In creating new blends, a company's manufactur- 
ing department is not given to wide departures 
from the proven recipes which had secured its par- 
ticular share of the market. Each company's various 
cigarette brands— even if advertised independently 
of each other under different trademarks — tend to 
comprise a recognizable "family." One maker might 
be geared to Burley blends in which the Burley 
runs to the lighter "cigarette grades" and is moder- 
ately flavored. Another's blends might run to heavy 
Burley, even approaching the pipe tobacco types, 
thickly cased. A third might keep the Burley pro- 
portion down, relying on a greater amount of Bright 

for sweetness, and adding a minimum of flavoring. 
Around these different formulae grew different 
management formulae, different approaches to the 
market. At one extreme, it was buying the best leaf 
available and spending less per 1,000 cigarettes for 
advertising — relying heavily on the brands' built-in 
ability to generate their own repeat business. At the 
other extreme, it was the reverse: limiting the leaf 
expenditure to provide a wide "factory spread" and 
make liberal promotional outlays possible. In 
launching a new brand, this posed ( and still poses ) 
a nice problem. To win business from established 
brands, quality of product must be maximized; on 
the other hand, building a new brand name, win- 
ning consumer attention against the competition of 
hundreds of advertisers in all media, requires a 
maximum of "available spread" for advertising. In 


the flurry of new-brand activity following World 
War II, the odds against new brands — even those 
pushed by large corporations — were amply dem- 
onstrated. More than half the new cigarettes to 
enter the fight for sales did not gain enough volume 
to justify multimillion-dollar promotion budgets, 
and quietly joined the ghostly limbo of minor 
brands two or three years after birth. Every manu- 
facturer's price list to the trade is packed with such 
trademarks, once promising and now unadvertised. 
They hang on, maintaining a trickle of repeat busi- 
ness here and there, even after all promotion has 
ceased, for nothing is so difficult to kill outright as 
a tobacco brand. There are still a few smokers who 
want to be nonchalant and light a Murad, who 

remember "ask Dad, he knows," and stay with 
Sweet Caporal even though neither brand has re- 
ceived any advertising to speak of since the 20s. 

East vs. West 
Tobacco has been described as filling a change- 
less need in a world of change. The world of change 
influences form and fashion; today the bulging 
cheek is outlandish, yesterday the cigarette was a 
foreign curiosity, a "paper-collar stiff." Yet the 
changeless need is much the same as the American 
Indians knew two thousand years ago. The taste of 
the leaf has always been of the essence, despite the 
contention that smoking is purely psychological, 
"something to keep the hands busy." The most re- 

Once the standard tobacco "package" for shipping, 
the hogshead is now a form of storage used mainly 
by manufacturers. Immediately after purchase, leaf 

is reconditioned and factory-prized into hogsheads, 
each weighing about 1,000 pounds. It is then moved 
into storage sheds for two- or three-year "sleep." 


In batteries of storage sheds outside plant towns, tobacco" sweats "undergoes chemical change. Crops 

manufacturers maintain inventories of leaf tobacco from several years are kept for blending purposes, 

valued at more than $2.2 billion. Proper aging of Large inventories also make it possible to average 

leaf requires two or more years, during which the out occasional crop failures, keep blend unchanged. 

cent demonstration of this has been the filter tip 
fashion, which spread to nearly one-half the total 
cigarette market between 1951 and 1959. The lead- 
ing filter brands, following the shakedown period, 
were those that preserved the taste of the tobacco. 
The same basic truth had been shown before in the 
failure of vegetable substitutes for tobacco to sur- 
vive, and in the failure of denicotinized smokes to 
win more than the barest fringe of the market for 
tobacco products. 

No doubt the precise physiological need filled by 
tobacco will someday be known. Up to now, its 
exact nature has been a puzzle to scientists. The 
measurable effects include an almost immediate 

contraction of the smaller blood vessels and a low- 
ering of skin temperature. Professor Sidney Russ of 
the University of London describes this as "a slight 
cooling of the skin of the extremities of the body or 
a feeling of nervous relief." This is not, however, 
the whole story, for more recent research indicates 
that the peripheral vaso-constriction is accompa- 
nied by dilation of the larger, inner blood vessels. 
Thus, as Russ observes, smoking "although a stimu- 
lant, may nevertheless act as a sedative and allow 
the seeker after sleep to find it." Smoking as such 
is older than tobacco smoking; the smoking of 
opium (morphine) for its powerful sedative effect 
had become a common custom in the Far East long 


^rt cr Vs k /^/v*^v< < ^v>sA^^ 












Columbia postage stamp commemorates 1956 visit 
to U.S. by Javier Pereira, said to have been born in 
1 789, year Washington was inaugurate das President. 
Legend quotes 167-year-old Pereira s advice: Don't 
worry, take plenty of coffee, smoke a good cigar." 

before tobacco was introduced. Hemp (mari- 
huana) has also been smoked in various parts of 
the world in "reefers," or its essence taken as 
hashish. "If man must smoke," concludes Russ, "let 
it be something which in the past has left him with 
a good bill of health, for no such degradation of the 
mind or body has been attributed to smoking to- 
bacco as can be abundantly proved among the ad- 
dicts of opium and hemp." 

A half-serious, half-comic echo of Russ' view- 
point arrived in New York City in 1956, in the per- 
son of the one Javier Pereira, an ancient citizen of 
Colombia, South America. Less than five feet in 
height, toothless but scrappy, Senor Pereira was 
alleged to be 167 years old. Although public inter- 
est in his long life was a transitory, newpaper- 
nourished phenomenon, Pereira managed to com- 
municate his secret for longevity before being 
whisked back to his native South America village: 
"Don't worry; take plenty of coffee; and smoke a 
good cigar." It was appropriate advice from a de- 
scendant of the jungle Indians who may have rolled 
the first cigars from Nicotiana tabacum. 

The use of incense to produce fragrant smoke is 
as old as civilization; among the gifts brought by 
the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem were frankin- 

cense and myrrh. In ancient Greece, long before 
"Turkish" tobacco was grown there, the smoke of 
burning laurel enveloped the prophetess of Delphi, 
and the smoke of coltsfoot was used as a medicine. 
( In Britain, centuries afterward, coltsfoot was used 
for this purpose and also as an adulterant of pipe 
tobacco). Herodotus wrote of the scattering of 
hemp-seeds on hot stones to produce an intoxicat- 
ing smoke which was especially appreciated after 
dinner. It seems probable that smoking for pleasure 
was more characteristic of the older East, while 
smoke as a medicine more typical of the "scientific" 
civilizations of the West. This cultural characteris- 
tic was illustrated by the sixteenth-century Euro- 
pean emphasis on tobacco as a cure-all when it was 
first introduced from the New World. 

One world 

If any proof of the universality of smoking were 
needed, it was given in 1954 when ashtrays were 
set around the tables of the Security Council in the 
United Nations building. "Apparently," interpreted 
the New York Times, "United Nations officialdom 
could no longer hold out against delegates who 
felt that ambassadorial rank should at least carry 
with it the right to put match to cigarette." More 
significant than this concession to the herbe de 
Tambassadeur was the recognition that the com- 
mon man's right to a good cigarette transcends 
ideological differences. Later the same year this 
roundup of Communist newspaper items was dis- 
patched from Vienna: 

Government-operated tobacco plants in Poland, 
Hungary, Bulgaria and Bumania have come un- 
der official fire for marketing smokes adulterated 
with straw, dirt, stones and worse. 

Polish cigarettes are often so dry and loosely 
packed that they flare up like a fuse and scorch 
the smoker's lips, Warsaw newspapers reported. 
The Bulgarian Communist publication Narona 
Tribuna said that workers in many districts were 
sold cigarettes coated with mold. Budapest's 
Magyar Nemzet said that one irate customer 
went to a state tobacco factory and forced the 
director to smoke one of his cigarettes. The direc- 
tor "turned green" and suffered a choking spell, 
the newspaper added. 
In their taste for tobacco, free men and slaves are 
not far apart; in manufacture, the two have been 
worlds apart, as the experience of Americans them- 
selves suggests. 


In point of distance, it is only 19 miles from 
Jamestown to Yorktown. And in point of tobacco 
progress, it was not far from the Jamestown settle- 
ment to the Yorktown surrender even though 175 
years separated the two events. Tobacco cultivation 
did not advance; rather, it was extended. No manu- 
facture arose, no significant improvements were 
made in the quality of leaf. Nor did America as a 
whole develop greatly during the colonial years — 
it merely enlarged, mile by mile, village by village, 
farm by farm. 

But the next 175 years were quite different. The 

spark of independence set off chain reactions in 
manufacturing, agriculture, manners and tastes. 
Ultimately, it fired America to the greatest produc- 
tive power and the highest standard of living 
known to mankind. The emergence of the world's 
leading tobacco industry is only a part of that trans- 
formation. But so precisely does it parallel the 
emergence of the United States that the story of 
Americans and tobacco is more than an industrial 
chronicle. It is a lesson in social science, in eco- 
nomics, in history; it is, in its own way, a testament 
of freedom. 


Evolution of the American Cigarette 










Columbus reaches West Indies, finds natives 
smoking tobacco rolls. 

Juan de Grijalva lands in Yucatan, observes cig- 
arette smoking by natives. 

Cortez conquers Aztec capitol, finds Mexican 
natives smoking perfumed reed cigarettes. 
Bernardino de Sahagun, missionary in Mexico, 
distinguishes between sweet commercial tobacco 
(Nicotiana tabacum) and coarse Nicotiana rus- 

"Tall tobacco" — sweet, broadleaved Nicotiana 
tabacum — transplanted from Central American 
mainland to Cuba and Santo Domingo. 
Portuguese cultivate tobacco in Brazil for com- 
mercial export. 

Thevet transplants Nicotiana tabacum from Bra- 
zil to France, describes tobacco as a creature 

Jean Nicot sends Nicotiana rustica plants from 
Lisbon to Paris court, describes tobacco as pana- 

Sir John Hawkins and/or his crew probably 
introduce pipe smoking into England. 
John Rolfe tries Latin American seed at James- 
town, raises first commerical crop of "tall tobac- 
co" (Nicotiana tabacum) in what is now the U. S. 
Spain channels all tobacco exports from her New 
World colonies to Seville; Virginia colony enters 
world tobacco market under English protection. 
Connecticut settled; tobacco crop raised at Wind- 
sor shortly thereafter. 

Maryland settled by Calverts under land grant 
for the "planting of tobacco." 
Governor Kieft bans smoking in New Amsterdam 
(New York); citizens ignore edict. 
Heavy taxes levied in tobacco by Virginia Gov- 
ernor Berkeley lead to Bacon's Rebellion, a fore- 
taste of American Revolution. 
Inspection regulations passed to keep up stand- 
ards of Virginia leaf exports (not effective until 

First American tobacco factories begun in Vir- 
ginia — small snuff mills. 

1750 Gilbert Stuart builds snuff mill in Rhode Island, 
ships his products in dried animal bladders. 

1762 Colonel Israel Putnam returns to New England 
from Cuban campaign with three donkey-loads 
of Havana cigars. 

1780 "Tobacco War" waged by Lord Cornwallis in 
-81 Virginia to destroy basis of America's credit 


1781 Thomas Jefferson suggests tobacco cultivation in 
the "western country on the Mississippi." 

1788 Spanish New Orleans opened for export of to- 
bacco by Americans in Mississippi valley. 

1794 Congress levies tax on snuff but leaves smoking 
and chewing tobacco untaxed. 

1805 Lewis and Clark explore Northwest, using gifts 
of tobacco as "life insurance." 

1810 Cuban cigar-roller brought to Suffield, Connecti- 
cut to train local workers. 

1820 American traders open the Santa Fe trail, find 
ladies of that city smoking "seegaritos." 

1832 Tuck patents curing method for Virginia leaf. 

1839 Slade "yallercure" in North Carolina — presages 
flue-cured Bright tobacco. 

1843 French monopoly begins manufacture of cigar- 
ettes, previously a beggar's smoke in Spain. 

1854 Cigarettes with Turkish tobacco used in Crimea 
-56 by Russian, Turkish, French and British troops. 
Soldiers bring vogue back to London. 

1864 White Burley first cultivated in Ohio Valley; 
highly absorbent new leaf proves ideal for sweet- 
ened chewing tobacco. 

1865 Soldiers of Union and Confederate armies sample 
granulated flue-cured Bright tobacco at Dur- 
ham's Station, North Carolina. National demand 
for bagged Bright tobacco grows; pipe smoking 

1865 Demand for exotic Turkish cigarettes grows in 
-70 New York City; skilled European rollers imported 
by New York tobacco shops. 

1883 Bonsack cigarette machine perfected in Durham. 
1890 Peak of chewing tobacco consumption in U. S., 
three pounds per capita. 

1907 Peak of cigar consumption in U.S., 86 per capita. 

1910 Peak of smoking tobacco consumption in U.S., 
1.75 pounds per capita. Sweetened Burley as well 
as Bright, Maryland and Turkish tobacco used in 
pipe blends. 

1913 American blended cigarette evolved from pipe 

1921 Cigarette becomes leading form of tobacco con- 

1939 Introduction of 85 millimeter "king size" cigarette 
marks first significant change from the regular or 

70 millimeter size. 

1952 Filter tip cigarettes begin to increase in popu- 

1955 Reconstituted tobacco leaf recognized as a tech- 
nological improvement by Department of Agricul- 
ture. Used first in cigar binder, then in cigarette 

1958 Sales of tobacco products approximate $6.5 bil- 
lion, of which cigarettes account for seven- 
eighths. Retail total includes about $2.5 billion 
in federal, state and municipal taxes. 


Although many "histories of smoking" have been 
published over the years, the number of well- 
documented sources is small. Most of these concen- 
trate on a special aspect of the tobacco story: 

Discovery of tobacco in the western hemisphere 
— Dickson, S. A., "Panacea or Precious Bane," 
The New York Public Library, New York, N. Y., 

Development of the continental market — Mac- 
Innes, C. M., "The Early English Tobacco Trade," 
Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., Lon- 
don, 1926 

Emergence of the American manufacturing indus- 
try before the War Between the States — Robert, 
J. C, "The Tobacco Kingdom," Duke University 
Press, Durham, North Carolina, 1938 

Rise of Bright Tobacco in Virginia and North 
Carolina after the War Between the States — 
Tilley, N. M., "The Bright-Tobacco Industry," 
University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 
North Carolina, 1948 

Rise of the cigarette industry — Tennant, R. A., 
"The American Cigarette Industry," Yale Univer- 
sity Press, New Haven, Conn., 1950 

For a complete summary of current statistics cov- 
ering most phases of the industry, the "Annual Re- 
port on Tobacco Statistics" is published each spring 
by the Agricultural Marketing Service, U. S. De- 
partment of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. This 
agency also issues a quarterly review entitled "The 
Tobacco Situation." 

The best comprehensive histories of tobacco are: 

Brooks, J. E., "The Mighty Leaf," Little, Brown 
and Company, Boston, 1952 

Robert, J. C, "The Story of Tobacco in Amer- 
ica," Alfred A. Knopf, New York, N. Y., 1949 

The best-known collection of tobacco materials has 
been annotated in Brooks, J. E., "Tobacco, Its His- 
tory Illustrated by the Books, Manuscripts and 
Engravings in the Library of George Arents, Jr.," 
Rosenbach, New York, N. Y., 1937-1943. 

An individual company history was published in 
1954 by The American Tobacco Company, New 
York, N. Y., entitled "Sold American!" 

For the student desirous of tracing the year-by- 
year progress of a particular cigarette brand or 
company, the best factual source is the series of 
annual industry surveys published each December 
by Printers Ink Magazine, New York. This series 
began in 1941, and includes estimates of unit sales 
by brand. 

Selected bibliography: 

Anderson, P. J., "Growing Tobacco in Connecti- 
cut," Bulletin 564, Connecticut Agricultural Ex- 
periment Station, New Haven, Conn., 1953. 

Apperson, G. L., "The Social Histoiy of Smoking," 
Putnam, New York, N. Y., 1916 

Billings, E. R., "Tobacco, its Culture, Manufacture 
and Use," American Publishing Company, Hart- 
ford, Conn., 1875 

Boyd, W. K., "The Story of Durham," Duke Uni- 
versity Press, Durham, N. C, 1927 

Connorton, J. W., "Tobacco Brand Directory of 
the United States," Chicago, 111., 1885, 1886-87, 

Corti, E., "A History of Smoking" (trans. Paul 
England ), Harcourt, Brace, New York, N. Y., 1932 

Cox, R., "Competition in the American Tobacco 
Industry, 1911-1932," Columbia University Press, 
New York, N. Y., 1933 

DeVoto, B. (ed. ), "The Journals of Lewis and 
Clark," Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1953 

Dodge, J. R., "Statistics of Manufactures of To- 
bacco and of its Commercial Distribution, Expor- 
tation, and Prices," Tenth Census, 1880, III, 881- 

Dowdey, C, "The Great Plantation," Rinehart, 
New York, N. Y., 1957 

Fisher, R. L., "The Odyssey of Tobacco," The 
Prospect Press, Litchfield, Conn., 1939 

Gage, C. E., "American Tobacco Types, Uses, and 
Markets," Circular No. 249, U. S. Department of 
Agriculture, Washington, D. C, 1942 

Gage, C. E., "Historical Factors Affecting Ameri- 
can Tobacco Types and Uses and the Evolution 
of the Auction Market," Agricultural History 
11:43-57 (January, 1937) 

Gottsegen, J. J., "Tobacco," Pitman, New York, 
N. Y., 1940 

Hamilton, A. E., "This Smoking World," Century, 
New York, N. Y., 1927 

Horgan, P., "The Centuries of Santa Fe," E. P. 
Dutton, New York, N. Y., 1956 

Jenkins, J. W., "James B. Duke," George H. Doran 
Co., New York, N. Y., 1927 

Killebrew, J. B., "Report on the Culture and Cur- 
ing of Tobacco in the United States," Tenth 
Census, 1880, III, 583-880 

Lavender, D., "Bent's Fort," Doubleday, Garden 
City, N. Y., 1954 

McDonald, A. F., "The History of Tobacco Pro- 
duction in Connecticut," Yale University Press, 

Middleton, A. P., "Tobacco Coast," The Mariners 
Museum, Newport News, Va., 1953 

Morton, L., "Robert Carter of Nomini Hall," 
Colonial Williamsburg, Inc., Williamsburg, Va., 

Nicholls, W. H., "Price Policies in the Cigarette 
Industry," The Vanderbilt University Press, Nash- 
ville, 1951 

Northrop, E., "Science Looks at Smoking," Cow- 
ard-McCann, New York, N. Y, 1957 

Nussbaum, F. L., "American Tobacco and French 
Politics, 1783-1789," Political Science Quarterly, 
Vol. XI No. 4 (December, 1925) 

Ortiz, F., "Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and 
Sugar," Alfred A. Knopf, New York, N. Y., 1947 

Penn, W. A., "The Soverane Herb," Grant Rich- 
ards, London, 1901 

Ross A., "The Fur Hunters of the Far West," 
University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Okla., 

Russ, S., "Smoking and Its Effects," Hutchinson's, 
London, 1955 

Spinden, H. J., "Tobacco is American," The New 
York Public Library, New York, N. Y., 1950 

Stoughton, J. A., "A Corner Stone of Colonial 
Commerce," Little Brown and Company, Boston, 

Werner, C. A., "Tobaccoland," The Tobacco Leaf 
Publishing Company, New York, 1922 

Willison, G. F., "Behold Virginia!" Harcourt, 
Brace, New York, N. Y., 1952 

Winkler, J. K., "Tobacco Tycoon," Random House, 
New York, N. Y., 1942 

Wroth, L. C, "Tobacco or Codfish," The New 
York Public Library, New York, N. Y., 1954 

Young, W. W., "The Story of the Cigarette," 
Appleton, New York, N. Y., 1916 

Picture credits 

The American Tobacco Company — 8 top, 41, 98(4), 
99(4), 13, 131 left, 145, 153 right, 162, 163, 164, 
165 bottom, 177, 185, 196 top, 204, 206, 212(4), 213, 
221, 226-227 top, 228, 232, 234(4), 235(3), 239, 
251 right, 254, 255, 257(2), 259, 261, 262, 263. 

Arents Collection, New York Public Library — 9, 10, 
11(2), 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19(4), 20(2), 23, 24 bottom, 
27, 28, 30, 31, 32-33, 35(2), 37 left, 38, 39, 43, 46, 
53, 54(2), 55, 62(2), 79, 87, 105, 118, 124, 216. 

Bella Landauer Collection, New York Historical Society — 
96, 97, 106, 107(2), 131 right, 133, 147, 149, 157, 168, 
170, 171, 172, 174, 176(2), 183, 191(2), 192, 193, 207, 
208(2), 209(2), 217. 

Bettman Archive - 16 right, 34, 37 right, 39, 51 bottom, 
61, 63, 65 bottom, 66, 75, 120, 121, 148, 189, 195, 
199 center, 205 top, 210, 211 top, 250 right. 

Brown Brothers - 17 bottom, 26, 29, 47, 48, 51 top, 60, 
64 left, 82, 109, 110, 115, 122(2), 136, 144, 165 top, 
180, 198, 199 left, 199 right, 201 bottom, 202 right, 203, 
205 bottom, 214 left, 215(2), 230, 246 left, 258, 260. 

Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company — 247. 

Culver Service - 7, 8 bottom, 16 left, 17 top, 24 top, 25, 
36, 49, 52, 65 top, 68, 69, 73, 74, 77, 78, 81, 83, 86, 
90(2), 91, 94, 103, 108, 114(2), 116, 119, 125, 130, 
143, 159, 160(2), 161, 169, 173, 182, 184 center, 187, 
196 bottom, 197 top, 200, 201 top, 202 left, 214 right, 
226 bottom (2), 236(2), 242, 246 right, 250 left, 
251 left. 

Jamestown-Williamsburg-Yorktown National Celebration 
Commission — 45. 

Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company — 140, 237 top. 

National Park Service — 50. 

P. Lorillard Company - 190 top, 194(3), 252. 

Philip Morris, Inc. - 211 bottom, 241. 

R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company - 184 right, 224, 225. 

Sol Lesser Productions — 21. 

Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) — 5, 111, 181, 
231, 265. 

Underwood - 222. 

Virginia State Chamber of Commerce — 44, 70, 71, 76, 
229, 253. 

Wide World Photos - 64 right, 237 bottom, 243. 


AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Act), 

Adams, John Quincy, 90-91 
adulteration of tobacco, 41, 48 
advertising, 5, 94, 107, 148, 161-162, 

238-241, 245, 260-262 
Africa, 25-26, 30, 34 
aging of leaf, 260, 263 
air cure, 32, 47, 48, 98, 108, 109 
Alarcon, Fernando de, 8, 9 
Allen and Ginter, 207, 209, 211 
allotments, acreage, 231, 258 
"American cigars," 91 
American Federation of Labor, 202 
American Indians, 12, 19, 29-30, 

62-63, 142 
American Snuff Company, 248 
American Tobacco Company, The, 

185, 213-214, 219, 222, 237, 245, 

246, 247, 248, 252, 253 
anti-tobacco movements, 47, 214-215, 

anti-tobacco statutes, 83 
anti-trust decisions, 219 
Arawak Indians, 12, 20, 64 
Arikaras Indians, 119, 121-123 
aristocracy of tidewater, 68ff., 74-75 
Arizona, 94 
Arkansas, 93 

auction sales, 179-183, 227-228 
auctioneer, tobacco, 167, 180-183, 

Avalon, 247 
Aztec Indians, 7, 10, 19, 20, 23, 27 

Bacon, Nathaniel, 56ff. 
Bacon's Rebellion, 56-57 
bag jack, 164, 165, 176 
Balboa, Miguel, 10 
Baltimore, 77, 170, 171, 175, 

177-179, 208 
Baltimore agents, 180 
barbacoa, 98 
barn door buying, 181 
Barre, Nicolas, 13 
barrel cure, 98 
barter in tobacco, 24, 120, 125-128, 

129, 242-243 
Battle Ax, 136, 138 
Bayuk, 248 
Belgium, 34 

Benzoni, Girolamo, 15 
Berkeley, Governor William, 56ff. 
Berkeley Hundred, 68-70, 74-75 
Best Flavored Spanish Smoking 

Tobacco, 161 
betum (petum, petun), 7, 9, 13, 14 

binder tobacco, 88, 97, 100, 108, 248 
black boy shop figures, 20, 55, 198 
Black Patch, 228-230 
Blackwell Company, 163, 164, 218 
Blackwell, W. T., 161, 178 
Bloch Brothers, 248 
bonded cigar manufacture, 99 
Bonsack machine, 163, 212, 213 
Boston, 81, 91 
Brady, Anthony N., 218 
brands, national, 92, 94, 106, 140, 

142, 145, 161, 197, 238-240, 

Brazil, 7, 9, 10, 11-14, 25 
"breaks," 152, 180 
Brebeuf, Jean de, 30 
briar pipe, 19, 95, 236 
Bright leaf, 51, 107, 133, 148, 149, 

150, 166, 169-170, 172-173, 177, 

185, 227 
British- American Tobacco Co., 247 
British Empire, 41, 49, 51, 61 
broadleaf, 89, 95, 97, 108, 110 
Bronx, 193-194 
Brown Decades, 107 
Brown & Williamson Company, 247 
bulking, 223 
Bull Durham, 161-162, 166, 168, 171, 

176, 209, 222, 225, 226-227, 

bunchers, 99, 200-201 
"Burley blend," 222, 227, 243 
Burleyleaf, 89, 103, 109, 131-133, 

145, 178, 183, 192, 222-223, 227 
"buying to trademark," 261 
Byrd, William, 53, 70 
Byrd, William II, 70-72 

Cabral, Pedro, 8-9, 25 

cacao, 10 

Calhoun, John C, 116 

California, 17, 88-89, 104, 129-131 

calumet, 7, 16-17, 19, 63, 95 

Calverts, 4, 50-51 

Camel, 176, 222, 223-225, 246, 247, 

Cameo, 212 

Cameron and Cameron, 174 
Canaster, 61 
cane cigar, 20 
cane cigarette, 18, 20 
cane tobacco, 37 
Cardenas, Juan de, 15 
Carib Indians, 6, 12, 20, 31, 96 
Carmen, 250 
Carter, Robert, 71-72 
Carrier, Jacques, 16, 31 
Casa de Contracion de Indias, 101 
casing, see "flavorings" 
cassava, 33 
"casse-tabac," 29 
Castillo, Bernal Diaz del, 20, 23 
Caswell County, 150-151, 184 
catcher, cigarette, 251 
Cavalla tobacco, 223 
Cavendish, 147 
cellophane, 259 

Champlain, Samuel de, 7, 28-29, 120 
Charles II of England, 57 
cheroot, 96-97, 217 
Chesapeake Bay, 52, 54, 149 
Chesapeake colonies, 42-79, 82, 113 
Chesterfield, 223, 240, 245, 246, 

255, 256 
chewing tobacco, 8, 39, 103, 117-119, 

131-143, 147-148, 153, 164, 

178-179, 190-191, 236-237 
chewing tobacco brand names, 

136-137, 171 
Chicago, 170, 177, 178, 197, 211 
China, 25-26 
chocolate, 34 

cigar brand names, 88, 95, 106, 216 
cigar companies, 248 
cigar, domestic, 88, 97, 100, 235 
cigar, five-cent, 106, 217, 235-236, 

cigar, homemade, 85, 87, 128 
cigar machinery, 235-236 
cigar, origin, 7, 11, 14, 20, 21, 80ff. 
cigar rollers, 39, 87, 99, 101, 102, 104, 

106, 129, 200-203 

see also "manufacture, cigar" 
cigar shapes: 

bankers, 248 

coronas, 14, 97, 235 

fancy tales, 99 

palmas, 248 

panetelas, 248 

perfectos, 99, 248 

premiers, 99 
cigar store Indian, 197-200 
cigarette brand names, 171, 208-210, 

216, 221 
cigarette cards, 212-213 
cigarette, evolution of, 266 
cigarette girls, 211, 250-251 
cigarette machinery, 163, 176, 184, 

212, 259 
cigarette manufacture, 171, 175-176, 

185, 204-206, 210-211, 258-260 
cigarette rollers, 171, 175, 206, 211, 

cigarettes : 

blend, 145, 176, 222-223, 227 

cane, 20 

hand-rolled, 175 

origin, 19, 203-204 

reed, 7, 20 

"seegaritos," 129 
cigarillos, 248 
"cigartists," 102, 203 
Cincinnati, 133, 177, 182, 192 
cinnamon, 147, 164 
"cinnamon blotch" wrapper, 91, 97 
Civil War, 154-155, 160, 184 
Clark, William, 121-124 
Clay, Henry, 116 
clay pipe, 19, 34, 62-64, 95 
clear Havana cigars, 87, 88, 90-91, 94, 

98-99, 105 
Clemens, Samuel L., see "Mark Twain" 
clergy, 67 

climate and consumption, 39-40 
climate and tobacco growing, 11, 

40, 76, 85, 109, 131 
Clinton, DeWitt, 189-190 
coca, 11 
coffee, 34 
cohobba, 25 

"colory" leaf, 109, 149, 151 
coltsfoot, 264 
Columbus, Christopher, 6, 8, 9, 22, 

31, 96 
combinations, 194, 218-219 
common cigar, see "domestic cigar" 
Communist tobacco, 264 
Companie d'Occident, 112 
competition, 256, 261-262 
Conestoga, 86-87 
Confederate States of America, 154, 

157, 159 
Connecticut, 80ff., 104, 120 

Connecticut seedleaf, 91 
Connecticut Valley, 80ff., 120 
consignment system, 61, 73, 148, 154, 

166, 192 
Consolidated Cigar Co., 248 
consumption (charts): 

chewing tobacco, 134-135, 178-179, 

cigars, 100-101, 244-245, 248-249 

cigarettes, 244-245, 248-249, 256 

manufactured tobacco, 92-93, 
134-135, 244-245 

smoking tobacco, 178-179, 244-245 

snuff, 244-245, 
consumption, per capita, 62, 227, 

233-238, 244-245 
co-ops, see "pools" 
Corbett, Jim, 215 
corncob pipe, 19, 62 
Cortez, Hernan, 7, 8, 9, 23, 27 
costs, manufacturing, 175, 188, 211, 

cotton, 61, 71, 72, 115-116, 149, 

Counterblaste to Tobacco, 47 
coupons, 213, 247, 255 
Cremo, 236 
Crimean War, 204-205 
Cross Cut, 212 
crushproof box, 245, 254 
Cuba, 6, 7, 24, 25, 31, 34, 41, 55, 64, 

85, 86, 98-103, 111, 202-203, 205 
Cuban leaf, see "Havana leaf" 
Culpeper, John, 58 
Culpeper's Rebellion, 58 
cup package, 259 
curing barns, 109, 181 
cutters, 168-169 
"Cutters and Pluckers," 58, 67 
Cyclone, 212 

Dale, Thomas, 43-45, 47, 50, 51 
Danville, 117, 151-152, 165, 172, 180, 

183, 195, 227 
Davis, Jefferson, 153 
Dawes, Charles C, 236 
debts, tobacco planters', 61, 74, 75, 76 
Declaration of Independence, 73, 74 
deposit, right of, 114ff. 
depression of 1930s, 231, 234ff. 
Detroit, 171, 177, 197 
Diaz, Bartolomo, 25 
Diaz del Castillo, Bernal, 20, 23 
Digges, Edward, 55, 72, 149 
distribution, tobacco products, 140, 

185, 258 
domestic cigarette blend, 221-223, 

domestic cigars, 88, 97, 100, 235-236 
Dominica (Haiti, Hispaniola, Santo 

Domingo), 7, 25, 28, 31, 34, 36-37, 

41, 43, 64, 115 
Drake, Sir Francis, 17, 22, 35, 36, 37, 

41, 130 
drawback, 54 
drummers, 107, 197 
Drummond Company, 136, 138-139, 

Dual Filter Tareyton, 246, 255 
ducked tobacco, 52, 54, 180 
Dudley, Sir Robert, 37 
Duke of Durham, 163, 212 
Duke, James B., 184, 212-214, 222, 

224, 225 " 
Duke, Washington, 162-163 
Dukes Mixture, 222-223 

Durham, 145, 160-163, 165, 166, 170, 

171, 175, 178-179, 185, 194 
D.W.G. Cigar Co., 248 

"E. Dees," 55 

Eastern Belt, 183 

"eatin' tobacco," see "chewing 

Edgeworth, 253 
Edward VII of England, 216 
Edwardian era, 216-217 
"Egyptian" cigarettes, 194, 205, 

El Roi-Tan, 106, 235 
elbow pipe, 18, 19 
Elizabeth I of England, 21, 22 
Elk Island, 73 

Embargo of 1807, 75, 115-116 
England, 26, 34, 36-37, 39, 40, 53, 

55, 64-65 
Era of Good Feeling, 116, 119, 190 
Erie Canal, 189-190 
exchanges, tobacco, 167, 180 
excise taxes, U. S., 155-157, 258 
export of leaf from U. S., 42, 50, 53, 

54, 58-59, 73, 75, 84-85, 116-117, 

155, 192, 232-233 
"factory spread," 211, 239, 261 
fall line, 56, 157 

Farmers' Alliance, 227 
Farmers-General, France, 75, 77, 149 
farmers, tobacco, 227-232 
fermentation of leaf, 48, 89, 98 
fighting brands, 136 
filler tobacco, 80, 88, 95, 97, 100, 

107, 109, 178 
filter tip cigarettes, 240, 245, 246, 

247, 254-255, 256 
fine-cut chewing, 137, 138, 190, 194, 

fire-cured leaf , 109-110 
Fitzhugh, William, 70, 72 
five-cent cigar, 235-236, 248 
flapper, 1920s, 250 
flat goods, see "flat plug" 
flat plug, 104, 133, 136, 137, 144, 

159, 168, 172-173 
flavorings, 40, 90, 131, 133-134, 

135, 147, 164, 183, 223, 260-261 
flip-top box, 245, 254 
Florida, 17, 93, 109 
flue-cure, 109, 150-151, 162, 185 
Fort Caroline, 17 
France, 14, 34, 39, 55, 64, 75, 178, 

Franklin, Benjamin, 73 
Frederick William I of Prussia, 63 
French and Indian War, 116 
freshness, 258-259 
fudgeon, 94 
fumo, 9, 25 

Gage, Charles E., 151 
Gail & Ax, 179, 218 
Gama, Vasco de, 25 
Gaston, Lucy P., 214, 252 

Gay Nineties, 216 

General Cigar Co., 248 

"Gentlemen, you may smoke," 216 

George III of England, 112 

Georgia, 109 

Georgia Belt, 183 

Georgopulo, G. A., 248 

Gerard, John, 47 

Germany, 19, 34, 38, 39, 55, 86, 243 

Gilded Age, 106, 197 

Glasgow, 60, 65, 76 

Gloag, Robert, 205 

glycerin, 259 

Goes, Damiao de, 9, 21 

Gold Rush, 128, 131 

Gompers, Samuel, 202 

Gooch, Governor, 62 

Goodwin & Company, 207, 209 

Granger movement, 227 

Grant, U. S., 5, 90-91, 106, 160, 197 

granulated Bright tobacco, 160, 166, 

168, 176,177, 185 (See also 

Bull Durham) 
Great Lakes tribes, 28-31, 120-121 
"great man theory," 4, 72, 106, 107 
Green, J. R., 160-161, 177, 184 
Green River leaf, 138 
Green Springs, 56 
green-leaf stemming, 260 
Greensboro, 145, 185, 252 
Grijalva, Juan de, 27 
"grinders," 109 

Haiti (Santo Domingo, Dominica, 

Hispaniola), 7, 25, 28, 31, 34, 

36-37, 41, 43, 64, 115 
Hamilton, Alexander, 78, 155 
Hariot, Thomas, 35-36 
Harrison, Benjamin II, 69, 72 
Harrison, Benjamin IV, 69, 72 
Harrison, Benjamin V, 69, 74 
Harrison, William Henry, 74-75 
Harrison's Landing, 69 
Hartford, Conn., 84 
Havana leaf, 80, 87, 88, 95-96, 98, 

100, 107 
Hawkins, Sir John, 17, 35 
health controversies, 47, 249-255 
heathen wound plant (tobacco), 16 
Helme, George W. Co., 248 
hemp, smoking of, 27, 264 
henbane of Peru, 11, 12, 31 
henbane, yellow, 11, 12, 31, 47 
Henry Clay, 106 
Henry, Patrick, 67-68 
herba panacea, 21 
herba sancta, 9 

herbe de Vambassadeur, 22, 264 
Herbert Tareyton, 246, 255, 256 
Herkimer, Nicholas, 73, 75 
Herodotus, 27, 264 
Highlander shop figures, 65, 198 
Hill Billies, 229 
Hill, George W., 238-239, 245 
hillside navy, 235 
Hispaniola (Haiti, Dominica, Santo 

Domingo), 7, 25, 28,31,34, 

36-37,41,43,64, 115 
Hit Parade, 246, 255 
hogshead, 52, 53, 60, 65-66, 67, 

148, 180, 260, 262 
hogshead sales, see "exchanges" 

Holland, 34, 38, 54, 55, 178 
"homespun," 146 
homogenized tobacco leaf, 248 
honey, 131 
humidity and tobacco, 85, 131, 

Huron Indians, 30 
hygroscopic agents, 259 

Illinois, 93, 104 

imports of cigars, 95, 98, 101 

imports of tobacco, 88, 95, 99, 110 

Incas, 11 

Indians, see "American Indians" 

Industrial Revolution, 146 

inspection system, 66-67, 148 

Irving, Washington, 38 

Italy, 21, 25, 26, 64, 86, 243 

Jackson, Mrs. Andrew, 90 

James I of England, 38, 47, 49, 50, 

James River, 53, 57, 92, 120, 253 
James River Canal, 156-158, 165 
Jamestown, 42ff., 265 
Japan, 25-26 
Jefferson, Thomas, 5, 72, 75-77, 112, 

115-116, 117, 121, 123 
Jerez, Rodrigo de, 6, 21, 26, 31 
Jersey City, 177, 193 
Johnston, Gen. Joseph E., 160 

Kearny, Gen. Stephen, 129 
Kemp, William, 53 
Kent, 246, 254, 255, 256 
Kentucky, 75, 93, 113-117, 132, 135, 

144, 145, 154, 158 
Keymis, Lawrence, 38 
Kieft, Willem, 186 
Killickinick, 120, 153-154, 170, 196 
Kimball Company, 171, 179, 207, 209 
king size cigarettes, 20, 243ff., 256 
Kinney Company, 177, 206-207, 209 
kinnikinnick, 120, 170, 196 
Kool, 246, 247, 255 

L 6- M, 246, 254, 255, 256 
labor unions, 202 
Lacandon Indians, 11, 21 
Lancet, The, 251 

Larus & Brother, 248, 253 
las Casas, Bartolome de, 24-25 
Latakia tobacco, 205 
Laudonniere, Rene de, 17 
Law, John, 112 
Lee, Gen. Robert E., 160 
Lery, Jean de, 13 
Lewis, Meriwether, 121-124 
Libby Prison, 157 

licorice, 131, 132, 133, 135, 147, 148, 
164, 183 

Liggett & Myers, 131, 138-139, 185, 

193, 218, 219, 223, 237, 253 
Livingston, Robert R., 115 
L'Obel, Matthias de, 35-36, 38 
Lone Jack, 153-154, 209 
long filler, 100, 110 
long green, 89, 235 
long nines, 87-88 
long size cigarettes, 246 
loose-leaf selling, 180, 182, 227 
Lorillard Company, 65, 138-139, 185, 

187, 190, 193-194, 240, 252 
Lost Colony, see "Roanoke 

Louisiana Purchase, 112, 115 
Louisville, 131, 133-136, 138-139, 

144-145, 172, 182, 192, 194, 195 
Lucky Strike, 131, 132, 176, 222, 238, 

245, 246, 252, 255, 256 
lumpers, 151 

lung cancer theory, 252-254 
Lynchburg, 117, 153-154, 158, 172, 

180, 195 

MacArthur, Gen. Douglas, 226, 242 
McAlpin, D. H., 195-196 
Maccaboy snuff, 65 
machinery, see "cigar machinery," 

"cigarette machinery," "bag jack" 
Madison, James, 72, 78-79 
Magellen, 26 
making machine, 259 
Mandan Indians, 28-29, 119, 123 
manioc, 33 
manufacture, cigar, 87-88, 94, 99-100, 

104-105, 131, 191, 196, 200-202, 

235-236, 248 
manufacture, cigarette, 171, 175-176, 

185, 204-206, 210-211, 258-260 
manufacture, chewing tobacco, 119, 

133-135, 140, 144, 147-148, 

158-159, 173, 175, 178-179, 

manufacture in bond, cigars, 99 
manufacture, smoking tobacco, 140, 

166, 173, 176-177, 178-179 
manufacture, snuff, 64-65, 82, 118 
manufactured tobacco production 

(chewing plus smoking), 140, 

163-165, 173, 193, 236-237, 248 
manufacturing costs, 175, 188, 211, 

manufacturing in U. S., 32-33, 61, 65, 

79, 89, 94, 117, 152, 158-159 
Margarita Island, 8, 34, 142 
marketing, see "national distribution" 
Marlboro, 241, 245, 254, 255, 256 
Marshall, Thomas R., 235-236 
Maryland, 50-51, 58, 67, 154, 157, 

178, 230 
Maryland seedleaf, 89, 108 
Maryland tobacco, 51, 149, 177-178, 

183, 227 
Maury, Rev. James, 68 
Mayans, 7, 10, 11, 18, 20, 21, 27-28 
Mayo, Charles W., 253 
Mayo, Robert A., 153 

meerschaum pipe, 19 

mentholated cigarettes, 246-247, 255 

Mexican War, 89 

Mexico, 7, 8, 10, 11, 15, 16, 20, 23, 

27, 129 
Middle Belt, 183 
Middletown, Ohio, 136, 195 
Mississippi Bubble, 112 
Mississippi river, 114-115, 132 
Missouri, 93, 135, 144, 145, 154 
Mogul 194, 205 

moisture control, 147-148, 258-261 
molasses, 40, 48, 96, 164, 184 
Monroe, James, 115 
Montezuma, 20, 23 
Morgan. J. P., 106 
Morgues, Jacques Le Moyne de, 17 

Morris, Philip, 205, 241, 245, 246 
Morris, Robert, 77 
Mound Builders, 28 
mousqueton, 7 
Murad, 194, 262 
Murad IV, 26 
Muriel, 193 
"Musty" snuff, 65 

Napoleon, 115, 149 

Natchez, 112-113 

national brands, 92, 94, 106, 141, 142, 

145, 161, 185, 197, 238-241, 245 
national distribution, 140, 185, 258 
National Tobacco Works, 136, 

138-139, 144, 218 
navy goods, 135, 137-139, 145 
nesting, 56, 227 
Netherlands, 34, 38, 54 
New Amsterdam, 52, 84, 186 
New England, 58, 60, 80ff. 
New Orleans, 103, 114ff., 142, 180, 

New York agents, 180 
New York City, 73, 103, 104, 154, 

175, 180, 185, 186-219, 222-223, 

New York State, 73, 104, 131, 135, 

Newport, 246, 255 
Nicosiana Sanasancta, 36 
Nicot, Jean, 14, 21, 22, 39 
Nicotiana petunoides, 12-13 
Nicotiana rustica, 10-13, 15, 16, 18, 

19, 23, 27, 29, 31, 36, 40, 42, 47, 

55, 96, 120 
Nicotiana tabacum, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 

21, 23, 27, 31, 40, 42, 108, 264 
nicotine, 232, 243, 256, 263 
Night Riders, 229-230 
Nobrega, Manoel de, 10 
North Carolina, 58, 119, 133, 140, 

146ff., 155, 158-159, 162, 167-170, 

172, 179, 184, 191, 252 
northern factors, 154, 166, 178, 192 

Oasis, 246, 255 

Ohio, 92, 93, 104, 109, 110, 132, 135, 

144, 145, 179 
Old Belt, 159, 163, 183, 229 

Old Gold, 208, 209, 240-241, 245, 

246, 255, 256 
Opechancano, 48, 69 
opium, 263 
ordering, 210, 259 
oriental cigarette, see "Turkish 

"Oronoko" leaf, 47, 54, 55, 180 
Oviedo, Fernandez de, 24-25 
packaging, 164-165, 221, 245-247, 

251, 258-259 

Palenque, Old Man of, 11, 27 

Pall Mall, 225, 245, 246, 255, 256 

Pane, Romano, 24 

papalete (cigarette), 204-205 

Paraguay, 31 

parity prices, tobacco, 232 

Parkman, Francis, 127-128 

Parliament, 241, 246, 254, 255, 256 

Parson's Cause trial, 67 

"passing the pipe," 10, 123-125, 126, 

paste segar, 88, 94 
Patterson, R. A., 132, 135, 153 
Patterson, Rufus, 164 
peace pipe, 7, 127 
Penn, William, 63 
Pennsylvania, 86-87, 92, 93, 100, 110, 

135, 178 
per capita consumption, 62, 227, 

233-238, 244-245; see also 

Pereira, Javier, 264 
Perique tobacco, 179 
Pershing, Gen. John J., 226, 242 
Peru, 7, 11 

Petersburg, 117, 172, 182, 195 
petum, petun (betum), 9, 13, 14, 17 
Petuns, 30 

Philadelphia, 79, 87, 97, 104, 186-191 
Philip Morris, 241, 245, 246, 255, 256 
Philip Morris Company, 205, 211, 

241, 245, 246, 253 
Philippines, 25-26 
Phillies, 235 

physiology of smoking, 263-264 
picietl, 7, 23, 24 
piedmont, 56, 113, 149, 168 
pigtail, see "twist" 
Pin Head, 213 
pinhooker, 181 
Pipe-Stone Quarry, 62 
pipe tobacco, see "smoking tobacco" 
pipes, 7, 18, 19, 27-28, 34, 36, 39, 

62-64, 127, 236, 238 
Pittsylvania County, 151-152, 184 
plantation tax, 78 
plantations, tobacco, 61, 68-73, 

102-103, 113 
planters, colonial tidewater, 61, 68-73, 

Plater, Thomas, 40 
plug cut, 165 
plug tags, 136-137 
plug tobacco, 7, 28, 30, 117-119, 128, 

131-139, 144, 147-149, 164, 176, 

193, 195 
plug war of 1897, 136, 144 
Pocahontas, 44, 45, 47, 49 
Pontiac, 120-121 
"pools," 227-230 

Pope's anti-tobacco Bull of 1642, 38 
Portugal, 25, 55, 64 
Powhatan, 44-49, 69 
prairie commerce, 24, 120, 124-128 
premiums, 136-137, 161, 166, 213 
press, plug, 147, 148 
price supports, 232 
prices, cigar, 88, 97, 105, 111, 235 
prices, cigarette, 210-211, 212, 

prices, leaf tobacco, 40, 53, 56, 61, 

73, 150, 168, 169, 229-232, 233 
prices, manufactured tobacco, 138, 

prices, plug, 138, 144 
Prince Albert, 176, 222 
prizing, 61, 65, 147, 148 
production, see "manufacture" 
Prune Nugget, 133-134 
psychology of smoking, 262 
Puerto Rico, 28, 34, 109, 111 
Putnam, Gen. Israel, 5, 83, 86, 89 
quality of product, 102-103, 145, 148 

Queen Anne's War, 54 
quid, see "chewing tobacco" 
quiecta, 7 
quotas for growers, 231-232 

Raglan, Lord, 34 

railroads, 140-142 

Raleigh, 247 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 4, 21, 22, 36, 37, 

39, 247 
Rapee snuff, 64-65 
rasp, snuff, 64-65 
rations, tobacco, 127, 128, 159 
reconstituted tobacco, 248 
Red Burley, 89, 133 
red willow bark, 24, 80, 123, 127-128 
redrying, 228 
reed-cigarette, 7, 20 
Regie, French, 75, 77, 78, 204 
regular size cigarettes, 222-223, 

238-241, 256 
Reidsville, 145, 162, 185, 228 
research, 254-257 
retail outlets, tobacco, 258, 260 
Revolutionary War, 73, 75, 77, 

112-113, 116 
Reynolds, R. J., 162, 172, 184, 

Reynolds, R. J. & Co., 138, 144, 162, 

172, 185, 218, 219, 222, 224-225 
Rhode Island, 65, 82 
Richmond, 53, 57, 104, 117, 132, 135, 

145, 152-153, 157, 160, 164, 

165-167, 171, 172, 175, 177, 179, 

180, 193, 195, 196, 207,-209, 223, 

251, 253 
river boats, 54, 123, 142-143 
Roanoke settlement, 35, 36, 43, 46 

Rochester, 177, 179, 197, 208-209 
Rogues Harbour, 58 
Roi-Tan, 106, 235 
Rolfe, John, 42, 45, 47, 49 
roll, tobacco, 33, 117 
roll-your-own cigarettes, 233-234 
rollers, cigar, see "cigar makers" 
rollers, cigarette, 171, 175, 206, 251 
rolling houses, 66-67 
rolling roads, 52, 66, 180 
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 242, 246 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 202, 218 
rope, tobacco, 22-23, 32-33, 64, 117, 

137, 147 
Ross, Alexander, 125-126 
rum, 90, 131, 147, 164 
Russ, Sidney, 263-264 
Russel, Samuel, 187 
Russell, Lillian, 213 
Russia, 26, 55 
saccharin, 172 

Sahagun, Bernardino de, 23, 24, 27 
sailors' trade in tobacco, 4, 3 Iff., 38, 

Saint Lawrence River, 16 
St. Louis, 131, 135, 136, 138-139, 

145, 172, 177, 193, 194, 195 
Saint Petersburg factory (Russia), 

Salem, 225, 246, 255, 256 
salesmanship, 107, 154, 167, 168, 

172, 174, 192 
Samsoun tobacco, 223 
San Francisco, 130, 197 
Santa Croce, Prospero di, 13, 21 
Sante Fe, 128, 220 
Santo Domingo (Haiti, Dominica, 

Hispaniola), 7, 25, 28, 31, 34, 

"sapping," 151 
sayri, 7 

Scotch snuff, 65 
Scotland, 60, 65, 82, 118 
Scotten Company, 170-171 
scrap tobacco, 179, 237 
screw press, plugmaking, 147, 148, 

seed, tobacco, 232 
sequestration, 74, 75 
Seven Years' War, 1756-1763, 116 
Seville, 19, 49, 86, 94, 101, 203-204, 

shadegrown wrapper leaf, 97, 101, 

108-109, 110, 111 
sheds, tobacco, 260-263 
Sherman, Gen. William T., 160 
"shipping leaf," 47, 49, 146 
Shirley Hundred, 68, 71 
shoestring leaf, 85, 89, 97 
shongsasha, 127 
short filler, 109 
short sixes, 87-88 
sidewalk shop figures, 197-200 
Slade cure, 150, 160, 185 
Smith, Captain John, 45, 50, 51, 112 
smoke-cured leaf, 109-110 

smoke-filled room, 10 

Smoking Circle (Boston), 91 

smoking custom, 262 

smoking tobacco, 119, 140, 153-154, 

161, 164, 166, 176, 179, 193, 233, 

smoking tobacco brand names, 

170-171, 179 
smuggling leaf, 34, 41, 49, 60, 79, 

smutchin, 82 
Smyrna tobacco, 223 
sneeshin, 118 

"sniveling and snorting," 64 
snuff, 6, 15, 64-65, 82, 109, 118, 

193, 237-238 
snuff bottles, 82 
snuffboxes, 64, 118 
snuffing-tube, 7, 8 

soil and tobacco, 55, 76, 108, 114, 162 
solids, smoke, 255, 257 
"sophistication" of tobacco, 48 
Sorg Company, 136, 138-139, 218 
Sousa, Gabriel de, 10 
South Carolina Belt, 183 
Soverane Herb, 7 
Spain, 34, 49, 55, 61, 64, 90, 94, 

101, 114 
Spanish bean, 91 
Spanish Intrigue, 114 
Spanish tobacco, 34, 41, 48-49, 

55, 65, 80, 94-95 
split brands, 255 
"spread," 261 
Spud, 241, 246, 255 
standard cigarettes, 222-223, 238-241, 

Star, 136, 140, 237 
state taxes, 156-157, 258 
"stemmeries," 147 
stemming, 147, 260 
"stints," 57-58 
stogie, 86, 87, 94, 96, 217 
strip leaf, 260 
Stephano Brothers, 248 
Stuart, Gilbert, 82 
Stuyvesant, Peter, 186 
sucker leaves, 98 
Suffield, Conn., 87 
sugar, 102, 131, 133, 135, 147, 164 
Sullivan, John L., 215 
Sumatra wrapper leaf, 97, 101, 110 
sun-cured leaf, 109 
supers, 88 

support prices, tobacco, 232-233 
sweating of leaf, 260, 263 
Sweden, 178 
Sweet Caporal, 209, 262 
"sweet-scented" leaf, 55, 149 
synthetic tobacco leaf, 248-249 
synthetic tobacco leaf, 248-249 
tabaco (cigar), 7, 98 
tabacum pulveratum, 64 
taboca (snuffing-tube), 7, 8 
"tall tobacco," 11, 15 

Tampa, 87, 101, 104 

taxes on tobacco, 38, 47, 51, 54, 56, 
58, 78, 82, 84, 144, 154-157, 185, 
214-215, 258 

Taylor, Arch, 175 

Taylor, William, 174 

Taylor, Mrs. Zachary, 90 

tea, 34 

ten-centers (cigarettes), 234-235, 247 

Tennessee, 93, 113-117, 145, 155 

Texas, 117 

Thanksgiving Dav (December 3, 
1619), 69 

Thevet, Andre, 12, 14, 15 

Thomas, James, 151, 153 

thrashing, 164, 260 

tidewater of Carolina, 169 

tidewater planters, 42-79, 101-102 

tin tags, 136-137, 193 

tinfoil, 259 

tobacco as currency, 67, 159, 242 

Tobacco Fleet, 51-53, 54, 85, 259 

Tobacco Growers' Protective 
Association, 228 

Tobacco Nation, 30, 120-121 

tobacco notes, 67, 180 

"Tobacco Parliament," 63 

tobacco ration, 127, 128, 159 

tobacco roads, 66, 67 

Tobacco Root Range, 122 

tobacco rope, 22-23, 32-33, 64, 117, 
137, 147 

"Tobacco Row," 253 

"Tobacco Sack," 146, 150, 157, 168, 

Tobacco Trust, 218-219 
tobacco, various words for, 7 
Tobacco War, 73-74 
tobagies, 37, 40 
tobago (snuffing-tube), 7, 8 
Tobago, 8 
toby, 96 

tomahawk pipe, 62-63 
tonka beans, 147 
trade signs, 197-200 
trademark, 260-261 
Trail, R. T., 204 
Treaty of Paris, 1783, 75 
Trenton, N. J., 87 
Trinidad, 7, 37 
Trollope, Frances, 190 
trusts, 218-219 
"Trynidado" leaf, 47 
tube pipe, 18-19, 36 
Tupinambas Indians, 9, 13, 18, 20 
Turkey, 19, 26 
Turkish cigarettes, 194, 204-208, 210, 

Turkish tobacco, 149, 204-207, 

221-223, 227 
Twain, Mark, 143 
twist, 22-23, 28, 32, 61, 117, 136, 137, 

"twofers," 88, 102 
Two Penny Act, 67 

Talleyrand, Charles Maurice de, 188 Union Leader, 194 

uppowoc, 7, 35 
Urban VIII, 38 

urbanization in U. S., 89, 104, 143, 
197, 218-219, 242 

U. S. Tobacco Co., 248 

Vaca, Cabeza de, 24-25 

Varinas tobacco, 61 

vegas (tobacco fields), 41, 85 

Venezuela, 8, 34 

Verrazano, Giovanni de, 16 

Vespucci, Amerigo, 8, 9 

Viceroy, 246, 247, 254, 255 

Villegagnon, 13-14 

Virginia, 7, 42ff., 80, 102, 117, 131, 

132, 133, 140, 145, 146-154, 157, 

162, 172 
Virginia cigarettes, 206-207 
Virginia Company, 43-44, 49, 50, 51 
vreit, 7 
Vuelta Abajo, 98ff. 

W. Duke Sons & Co., 163, 212-213 
walnut pipe, 19 

War Between the States, 154-155, 

160, 184 
War Hawks, 116 
War of 1812, 95, 116 
War of Independence, 73, 75, 77, 

112-113, 116 
Warehouse Point, 85 
warehouses, tobacco, 66, 169-170, 

Washington, George, 5, 69, 72-74, 

76, 112, 114, 116 
Webster, 106 
West Indies, 12, 28, 31, 34, 35, 39, 

43, 53, 84-85 
Westover, 68-69 
Wethersfield, Conn., 84 
wheel, tobacco, 32-33, 117, 147 
White Burley, 132 
White Owl, 235 
wild tobacco, 11, 13 
Wilkinson, James, 114 

willow bark, 24, 80, 127-128 
Wilson, N. C, 228 
Windsor, Conn., 80, 84, 85 
Windsor Particulars, 88, 94 

wine, 90, 164 

Wings, 247 

Winston, 138, 144, 168, 172-173. 175 

Winston, 246, 254, 255, 256 

Winston-Salem, 185, 225 

"winter work," 148 

Wisconsin, 93, 109, 110 

women smokers, 89-90, 102, 103, 

214, 250-251 
World War I, 5, 226 
World War II, 5, 242-243 
wrapper, cigar, 80, 89, 91, 95, 97, 

99, 101, 107, 108, 110, 111 

Yankees, 80ff., 165 

"yard of clay," 64 

yellow henbane, 11, 12, 31, 47 

yield per acre, tobacco, 232 

yietl, 23, 24 

Yorktown, 265 

Yucatan, 12, 18, 27, 31 

vuri, 7 

zikar (smoking), 7 

University of 


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